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Bioreactors and fermenters are often used in a multiphase design. The mixture of the phases leads to the development of foams and emulsions that cannot be separated afterwards. Consequently, the in-situ product extraction is a major challenge of such multiphase systems.
The herein presented new architecture of a bioreactor basically consists of an inner and outer cylinder, whereas the disperse phases are added in either one of the cylinders. The two key elements of the design are baffles on the upper end of the inner cylinder, which prevent a mixture of the disperse phases, in combination with a collection device placed on top of the inner cylinder. This design allows continuous product extraction by means of biocompatible solvents and a simultaneous oxygen supply.
Moreover, the addition of both disperse phases and the regulation of the loop flow can be adapted continuously and anytime through steering of the volume flow rates.
With this invention three or four phases can be brought together intensively with only small transport hindrances while the two additional disperse phases are spatially separated.
Keywords: Bioreactor, multiphase, Fermenters, architecture, disperse phases, chemistry, chemical engineering
In summary, this new architecture of a multiphase loop reactor overcomes several hurdles of current designs of loop reactors and other approaches such as membrane-based systems.
On behalf of the University of Aachen (RWTH Aachen), PROvendis offers access to rights for commercial use as well as the opportunity for further co-development and evaluation. The design of the reactor and the requested fluid dynamics can be assisted by the inventors.
A functional prototype has been built, and a European priority patent application has been filed so far.