DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — GEA has developed a digital twin for virtual testing of bioreactors prior to their construction. The digital twin will enable the company’s bioreactors to provide a prime growth environment for cultured cells.

The configuration of bioreactors is a key factor for the food industry, according to the company.

“A bioreactor is a vessel that has to function like a living body,” said Daniel Grenov, product manager for Bioreactor Technologies at GEA. “Inside it, life develops under highly complex conditions. Working on an industrial scale, we have to make living organisms predictable, because we need reliable and replicable performance to go hand in hand with maximum productivity. A digital twin simulates the environment inside bioreactors in a wide variety of scenarios. This lets us precisely match the tank design and the mechanical configuration for fine-tuning parameters such as shear stress, temperature, nutrient and oxygen distribution to what the cells need.” 

The virtual bioreactor testing is based on computational fluid dynamics, which models the growth behavior of cells as well as the oxygen and nutrient deliver radii inside the reactor, the company said.