Deep Dive: Industrial-Scale Fermentation
Enerfab has embraced the field of large bioreactors for over 40 years. We provide modern, large-scale fermenters that generate alcohols, ketones, amino acids, organic acids, biogas, polymers, vitamins, antibiotics, and industrial enzymes. Global competition in markets intensifies, and fermentation reaction scale-up is critical to success.
Fermenter geometries include surface/tray, trickle-bed setups, continuous, air-lift loop, batch, submerged, and semi-continuous. The bioreactor configuration is essential to promote the best physiology of the microorganism and reduce undesirable microbes.
The challenge is manufacturing a design that facilitates mass and heat transfer efficiently and cost-effectively. Whether constructed in the workshop, the field, or a combination of both, large bioreactors require special welding techniques. Investments in automated machinery increase our manufacturing productivity and benefit the client to reduce CAPEX and improve safety.
In large-scale bioreactors, heat transfer is usually more limiting than oxygen or gas transfer, particularly during the late exponential growth of a batch phase when the growth rate is highest. Enerfab uses proven technology that decreases the heat load via unique external jackets. We can also incorporate a variety of heat transfer coils, bundles, and baffles, which increase the heat exchange surface. Vessel stirrer geometry is used to improve suspension and other performance characteristics further.
The manufacture of these large bioreactors requires considerable thought for myriad reasons. Limitations, therefore, become essential in understanding the economic feasibility of a project. These limitations may be fabrication capabilities, equipment design characterization, transportation, site access, site laydown, and cleanability. Enerfab works with our clients to avoid costly design and manufacturing errors and develop the right combinations of equipment functionality to facilitate project initiatives.