110-12 May 2017 (Potsdam, Germany) www.keit.co.uk
Real-time, rugged, reliable monitoring of industrial processes
•Bench-top lab units –
exceptionally high SNR and
•MIR-fiber optics may cope
•Struggles with model
•Challenging for fiber based
•Very few instruments would
Rugged FTIR to study bio-renewable (fermentation) processes
Authors: Jonathon Speed, Dan Wood
Keit Ltd., R71, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Harwell Campus, Didcot, OX11 0QX
An industrial fermentation process is monitored using a novel vibration resistant FTIR
spectrometer. Spectra are gathered through the fermentation process and correlated to
HPLC reference data using partial least squares methodology.
Bio-renewables and biotechnology are rapidly developing areas, and industrial
fermentations can be 1,000,000 L in volume. It is imperative that these processes can
be properly controlled, and process analytical technology is a key part of this. Industrial
settings contain many hazards not present in the lab: vibrating reactors, vehicles, and
in some cases extreme temperature changes and poor weather. Here we present a
spectrometer that can withstand vibration and is inherently rugged – perfect for an
Michelson interferometers use a moving
mirror to create a difference in path length of
the light. The moving mirror needs to move
smoothly in order to provide reliable data.
This makes the instrument extremely
sensitive to vibration.
The common solution to this involves using a
fibre optic probe to place the instrument far
away from the process. Unfortunately these
are also affected by vibration, and are
sufficiently robust for industrial processes.
Sagnac interferometers have no moving
parts, making them highly resistant to
vibration. Recent developments in detector
technology coupled with development
work at Keit, mean that the use of Sagnac
interferometry is no longer purely
academic and can be extended to
This means that IRmadillo is inherently
vibration resistant and there is also no
need for frequent baseline scans as there
is almost no change inside the
spectrometer with respect to time or
Process Analytics for Bio-renewables
Bio-renewables processes (such as fermentation) are often analysed using off-line
techniques such as HPLC coupled with a suitable detector. This can result in
substantial delays in reporting, and in some cases can result in missed opportunities
to fix failed batches.
A simple fermentation process
This fermentation involves the consumption of a feedstock, which produces one of two
intermediates and finally one of three products.
Every spectrum gathered during the
fermentation (approximately 1600) was fed
through the model and a prediction made on
the feedstock, intermediates, and key,
secondary and by-products. These results were
compared to the HPLC data, with the results
The concentration profiles from prediction are in
good agreement with the HPLC reference data.
It should also be noted that the concentrations
of the constituents range from 0.1 to 40 g L-1.
The Keit IRmadillo™ spectrometer can is capable of monitoring an industrial fermentation process and by
combining with chemometrics can accurately predict the concentration of various reaction constituents over a
wide range of concentration.
The techniques demonstrated in this work are directly applicable to the industries shown above. From
monitoring the production of ethanol in commercial brewing through to the production of APIs in biosynthesis
of drug molecules.
The combination of robust, rugged FTIR with chemometrics enables real time monitoring of a variety of
industrial processes, improving productivity and reducing waste and cost.
Rugged FTIR to study bio-renewable
10-12 May 2017
Authors: Jonathon Speed, Dan Wood
Keit Ltd., R71, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory,
Harwell Campus, Didcot, Oxfordshire, OX11 0QX,