Introduction

True packed-bed operation can only be used in those cases where the bed does not dry out to levels that cause water limitations on growth, because water can only be uniformly distributed within a bed of solids while the solids are being agitated. If the organism tolerates some mixing, then the intermittently-mixed mode of operation can be used, in which the bioreactor operates as a packed-bed during the majority of the fermentation period and undergoes infrequent mixing events, during which water can be added to the bed (Chap. 10). In fact, once the intermittently-mixed mode of operation is selected, the use of dry air to promote evaporative cooling is potentially available as an operating strategy. The current chapter presents a model that can be used to investigate the operation of such bioreactors.

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