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Advertising division: IBG-1 - Biotechnology
Reference number: 2019M-068, Biotechnology, process engineering, computational science and engineering

Master thesis: CFD modeling of industrial scale bioreactors

Start of work: immediately / by agreement

At the Institute for Bio- and Geoscience (IBG-1) at Forschungszentrum Jülich, computational approaches in conjunction with wet lab experiments are applied to study and optimize cell metabolism, biotechnological processes and devices. In the context of a current EU funded project consortium, specific scale down bioreactors at laboratory scale are developed for mimicking the fluctuating environmental conditions to which cultivated microorganisms are typically exposed in industrial scale bioreactors. Since direct measurement of important environmental variables such as oxygen and substrate concentrations are complicated, the design of these scale-down bioreactors is aided by computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Your tasks:
The aim of this master thesis project is to set up and solve predictive CFD models of bioreactors (stirred tanks with Rushton impellers) at varying scales (ca. 1 to 105 liters) and operating conditions (stirrer speed). Specific tasks are:

  • Implement computational geometries for several bioreactors
  • Create unstructured and structured meshes with local refinement
  • Compute velocity field by solving Navier-Stokes equations
  • Compute concentration field by solving mass transfer equations
  • Perform mesh independence studies
  • Compare different turbulence models
  • Optimize numerical performance of iterative solvers

Your profile:

  • Very good grades in the fields of biotechnology, process engineering, computational science and engineering or related subjects
  • Interest in computational fluid dynamics and fermentation technology
  • Ability to work independently and analytically in a project team
  • Basic experience in CFD modeling, ideally with COMSOL Multiphysics

Our offer:

  • A highly motivated working group in one of the largest research institutions in Europe
  • Excellent scientific and technical infrastructure, including CFD software and compute resources
  • Intensive support of the work on site
  • The master thesis is remunerated

Dr. Eric von Lieres
Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH
Institute for Bio- and Geosciences (IBG)
IBG-1: Biotechnology

Tel.02461 61-2168