Pilot Fermentation

Testing of substrates and micro-organisms.

Bubble column test fermenter system

The Vogelbusch pilot fermentation system is designed to test both feedstocks and micro-organisms for their suitability in submerged fermentation under certain defined conditions.

2 PilotFermentationRacks

The key part of the system is a rack with 6 bubble columns that are made of glass. Each column has a gross volume of 17 liters. To expand the capacity of the system further racks can be added.

The rack is equipped with all necessary devices for measuring and control of fermentation parameter, such as pH probes, temperature probes, partly pO2 probes, as well as an automatic antifoam system and provisions to compensate evaporation losses.

To expand the capacity of the system further racks can be added.


A special advantage of this cost efficient system is the verification of several parameters in parallel within the same cycle.

In this way test series can be carried out in a timely manner to optimize processes, for instance by addition of nutrients, trace elements and inhibitors.

This pilot fermentation is employed by Vogelbusch for test series with Aspergillus niger to validate the fermentation parameter for citric acid plant design. The same system is in practical use in the laboratories of industrial citric acid production sites.

Installation requirements

The system comprises the rack with bubble columns including instrumentation, electrical equipment, pipes, turning device etc.


1st rack: 5 m x 6 m, min. 2,8 m high
Additional racks each 3 m x 6 m

Compressed air

Pressure 1,9 bara
Air flow 70 Nm3 / h
Air must be free of oil. Main air supply line to be equipped with coarse and sterile filter.
Piping must make possible the in-line steaming of sterile filter.


Pressure 3 barg
Capacity 40 kg / h

Demineralized water

Conductivity max. 2 µS / cm
Capacity app. 5 l / min
Pressure min. 0.2 bar
Ion exchange cartridge directly connected to tap water piping is suitable

Cold water

For filling of thermostated water bath and general purposes

Hot water

For general cleaning purposes


AC, standard voltage 230 V (110 V possible); 50 Hz

Room venting

min. 10 air changes / h

Raw material preparation

comprises vessels, cation exchange column and pumps. With a space requirement of 3 x 4 meter it can also be placed next door.

Measures for use with GMO strains

The pilot fermentation system is designed for cultivation of non pathogenic organisms. Intended use of a GMO strain requires prior clarification and implementation of local regulations to comply with, for instance by placing the system into a containment room.

Reference plants using test fermenter systems


FEW - International Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo

June 10 - 12, Minneapolis, U.S.

EU FP7 Research Project: Valor+

Valorisation of biorefinery by-products explored in a joint research project.