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Process Biochemistry 40 (2005) 2263–2283 www.elsevier.com/locate/procbio

Review

Bubble column reactors
Nigar Kantarcia, Fahir Borakb, Kutlu O. Ulgena,*
b a ˘ ¸i Department of Chemical Engineering, Bogazic University, 34342 Bebek-Istanbul, Turkey Department of Chemical Engineering, Yeditepe University, 34755 Kadikoy-Istanbul, Turkey

Received 31 August 2004; accepted 26 October 2004Abstract Bubble columns are intensively used as multiphase contactors and reactors in chemical, biochemical and petrochemical industries. They provide several advantages during operation and maintenance such as high heat and mass transfer rates, compactness and low operating and maintenance costs. Three-phase bubble column reactors are widely employed in reaction engineering, i.e. in the presenceof a catalyst and in biochemical applications where microorganisms are utilized as solid suspensions in order to manufacture industrially valuable bioproducts. Investigation of design parameters characterizing the operation and transport phenomena of bubble columns have led to better understanding of the hydrodynamic properties, heat and mass transfer mechanisms and flow regime characteristicsongoing during the operation. Moreover, experimental studies are supported with computational fluid dynamics (CFDs) simulations and developed mathematical models to describe better the phenomena taking place in a bubble column reactor. This review focuses on bubble column reactors, their description, design and operation, application areas, fluid dynamics and regime analysis encountered and parameterscharacterizing the operation are presented together with the findings of published studies. # 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Bubble columns; Bioreactors; Gas holdup; Heat transfer; Mass transfer; Fluid dynamics

Contents 1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . 1.1. Applications of bubble column reactors in bioprocesses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Bubble column reactors: concepts and published work . . . . . . . . 2.1. Design and scale-up . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.2. Fluid dynamics and regime analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3. Gas holdup . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.1. Superficial gas velocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.2. Liquid phase properties . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.3. Operating conditions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.4. Column dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.5. Gas sparger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. 2.3.6. Solid concentration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.3.7. Summary of gas holdup studies . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4. Bubble characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.1. Superficial gas velocity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2.4.2. Liquid phase properties and operating conditions . 2.4.3. Column dimensions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ....
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