BPE-21306 Bioreactor Design


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Practical extensively supervised60
Practical intensively supervised25
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. A Rinzema
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. A Rinzema
ing. EJ van den End
S Haemers
dr. ir. MH Vermuë
Examiner(s)dr. ir. A Rinzema
prof. dr. ir. RH Wijffels

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:


Continuation courses:

BPE-60312, FPE-31306


This course is the third in a series of process engineering courses in the BSc Biotechnology. It applies the systematic design approach taught in BPE-10305 and BPE-20806 to multi-phase (= aerated) bioreactors with homogeneous and inhomogeneous liquid and gas phases. Students set up mass and energy balances for such bioreactors, taking into account simultaneous bioconversion and transport processes. Scale-up effects on mixing and absorption kinetics, and limits imposed by flooding are also considered in the design. Examples of bioreactors discussed in the course are stirred-tank bioreactors, bubble columns and packed beds. In an experiment, a stirred-tank bioreactor is studied.

Learning outcomes:

The student will be able to: - properly set up and solve element balances in combination with component and energy balances for multiphase bioreactors; in other words: calculate the highest possible production rate or product concentration considering oxygen supply and heat removal capacities; - choose the appropriate balances and system boundaries for solving a design problem related to these bioreactors;
- properly consider scale-up effects and physical limits in the design; in other words: calculate the effects of the size of the bioreactor on oxygen supply and take into consideration the maximum possible gas and mechanical (mixing) power inputs;
- explain differences between reactor types and exploit them for various design goals; in other words: be able to decide when a stirred-tank reactor should be used, when a bubble column or packed bed should be used, etc.


- instruction lectures and associated self-study of lecture notes and syllabus;
- exercises and case studies;
- an experiment, including the required design calculations and report writing;
- written exam.


Individual assessment based on marks for the written exam (80%) and the experiment (20%). Both marks must be >5.5.


Study guide, syllabus and exercises are available on the internet before the start of the course.

Compulsory for: BBTBiotechnologyBSc5AF
Restricted Optional for: MFTFood TechnologyMScH: Sustainable Food Processing5AF
MFTFood TechnologyMScA: Food Biotechnology5AF
MMLMolecular Life SciencesMScE: Environmental Chemistry5AF