INV 6: ATEX Fermentation Unit (7L)

The 7L ATEX fermenter plays a crucial role in developing industrial anaerobic fermentation processes. These fermentations are either fermentations where solvents/gases are consumed (metabolisation), or fermentations where solvents/gases are produced under circumstances that are critical for explosion.

ATEX comes from French ‘ATmosphères EXplosives’. It refers to a directive describing what equipment and work environment is allowed in an environment with a potentially explosive atmosphere, i.e. an atmosphere composed by air mixtures of gases, vapours, mists or dusts, which can ignite under certain operating conditions.

Besides being explosion-proof, the fermenter is equipped to allow accurate on-line measurements of factors such as critical metabolites, product quantity and quality, and a set of analytical data. This is important to allow the definition of scale up factors and to produce initial quantities to test product efficacy and stability. Additional instrumentation to specifically monitor the anaerobic fermentations are gas feed and/or off gas analysing/monitoring instruments

How will this equipment help SMEs in NWE:

Currently, a lot of research is done worldwide about the possibilities that anaerobic processes offer for producing biobased products. Companies and SMEs from NWE are already performing this type of research. By investing in equipment for anaerobic processes at BBEPP, the SMEs of NWE will have access to an efficient service to upscale their processes safely.