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Reactor Vessels for the Growth of Biomass Microorganisms

Stage: Development

The settling of biomass in reactor vessels can negatively affect the production of biomass by microorganisms. A researcher at NREL has developed a reactor-vessel design to address the uniformity and consistency of mixing, resulting in higher biomass productivity, better experimental reproducibility, and easier operation over the industry-standard Roux-bottle design.

NREL’s reactor vessel consists of a transparent cylinder with a curved bottom to contain a stir bar and an upper neck to hold a cap, which may contain multiple ports and tubes for the introduction or collection of fluids and for convenient aliquot sampling. The curved bottom functions to center the stir bar, whose centered position at the bottom of the reactor vessel promotes efficient, uniform, and consistent mixing of the mixture in the reactor. NREL’s reactor vessel may be used to grow photosynthetic microorganisms dispersed in a growth solution that is agitated by the reactor’s stir bar, exposed to light transmitted through the reactor’s transparent walls, and provided gases from the ports in the reactor’s cap.

To learn more about Reactor Vessels for the Growth of Biomass Microorganisms, please contact Eric Payne at:

ROI 19-101.

Applications and Industries

  • Photosynthetic biomass production
  • Biomass conversion chemistry


NREL’s reactor design

  • Ensures the suspension of biomass in a growth medium for consistent and reproducible results,
  • Reduces the need to repeat experiments, and
  • Reduces the operation time associated with experiment monitoring.


reactor bottles.jpg
NREL's reactor vessels growing biomass with photosynthetic microorganisms.

ROI 19-101 U...1.pdf

Mar 3, 2021