Influence of oxygen adsorption on the dynamic KLa measurement in three‐phase slurry reactors

M. Boon*, T. A. Meeder, Joseph J. Heijnen, K. Ch A.M. Luyben

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


To check for possible mass transfer limitations of oxygen and/or carbon dioxide in kinetic experiments on microbial desulphurization of coal, it is important to properly measure the volumetric mass transfer coefficient (kLa) especially at high slurry densities. Volumetric mass transfer coefficients of oxygen, at different solid hold‐up values (εs = 0 to 0.28) of coal slurries (dpar < 100 * 10−6 m), were measured in a lab scale fermentor and in a lab scale pachuca tank, using the dynamic gas–liquid absorption method. It was shown that serious errors could occur due to oxygen adsorption at the coal surface. Using the data of an independently measured adsorption isotherm, the real kLa could be calculated from the measured apparent kLa. The results show a kLa decrease of 40% to 50% at a volumetric solid hold‐up of 28%. Estimation of the oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer rates, from the measured mass transfer coefficients, indicates that the stirred fermentor is suitable for kinetic experiments at high slurry densities, whereas the pachuca tank and shake flask are not. © 1992 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1097-1106
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology and bioengineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • microbial desulphurization
  • O adsorption on coal
  • O and CO mass transfer
  • Thiobacillus ferrooxidans
  • three‐phase slurries


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