Cloud technology makes the operation of bioreactors more efficient

Bioreactors are systems in which cells, microorganisms or very small plants are cultivated. The aim is to obtain cells or metabolic products which the pharmaceutical and chemical industry needs, for example, for medicaments. For successful cultivation, it is important that values ​​such as oxygen content, temperature and pH are strictly adhered. Therefore complex simulations are necessary for the exact planning of the cultivation. For small and medium-sized engineers, it is not easy to carry out these calculations themselves due to immense investment costs in the required hardware.

One solution is the EU project CloudFlow. 47 partner institutions from 13 European countries work here together. The idea is to use cloud computing to enable small and medium-sized enterprises to use simulation software over the Internet on the CloudFlow platform. The available servers provide very high computing powers for the solution of complex tasks (High Performance Computing; HPC). “In practice, smaller companies in particular have to forego many of the possibilities of today’s engineering software,” explains Professor André Stork of Fraunhofer IGD, Coordinator of CloudFlow. The special software provided with CloudFlow no longer needs to be installed and licensed on local computers as it is used online for the required time. Business models such as pay-per-use are thus possible. The user pays for the computing power and the time when he uses the software online.

An application test by CloudFlow was carried out by the company SES-Tec OG, based in Graz, Austria. SES-Tec specializes in high-tech simulations. The company uses CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) simulation software from AVL List GmbH to calculate experiments in bioreactors. The software AVL FIRE ™ was further developed as part of the project for use in the cloud. Through the CloudFlow platform, SES-Tec AVL FIRE ™ is cost-effective and at the same time leverages the advantages of powerful computer infrastructure. In this test, 25 different scenarios are analyzed and evaluated in parallel, which is a significant gain in speed and considerably reduces costs.