Transfer Rate

Within a given batch run, the cell concentration changes as a function of time. In addition, the viscosity goes up with cell concentration at a given point on the time curve of a fermenter. Figures 47 and 48 give typical data showing the change in viscosity as a function of the number of days of fermentation for different kinds of systems.

On the other hand, Fig. 49 shows the change in mass transfer rate with viscosity, which is caused largely by a change in cell concentration of the total process. It is true that the rate of oxygen transferred per MJ goes down as the cell concentration goes up. However, this cost must be balanced against the increasing productivity of a given dollar investment in fermentation tank, piping and total plant cost. Analysis needs to be made of the role that mixer cost, including both capital and power, plays in the total productivity cost in order to evaluate desirability of going in this direction.

A previous paper by Ryu and Oldshue treated an example where the final cell concentration was changed from 10 to 12 to 20 g//, and the oxygen mass transfer dropped from 10 to 8.3 to 6.4 mols oxygen/MJ.

Looking at Table 4, the cost of electrical power and other essentials listed a capital cost of $900/kW (1982 cost about $2000/kW) if installed mixer capacity is used, including the associated blower and air supply, and including the installation of the equipment, with the electrical hookup. This is for a D/T ratio of 0.37.

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