In the area of bioprocess engineering, electronic monitoring techniques are used to improve process effectiveness. To achieve high efficiency but also resource friendly products, the exact knowledge of the process data is one of the key issues.
To address the problems of process monitoring, a new concept for a location-independent, fully autarkical and minimally disrupting micro measuring device, the so called Sens-o-Spheres, has been introduced. Each sphere has its own rechargeable battery and floats freely within the medium without any disruption. In order to explicitly identify each of the spheres working in parallel, every sphere has its own ID.
Fraunhofer ENAS developed a special smart charging pipe, combining several coils that allow the recharge of the battery inside the spheres in random positions.
Another challenging aspect of this monitoring system is the reliable radio link that transmits data through the bioprocess liquid toward the reader. For that purpose, the Fraunhofer ENAS engineers designed and integrated a miniaturized communication antenna inside the sphere with the highest possible efficiency. Furthermore, the exact electrical characterization of the nutrient medium was an important issue for the design of an optimized communication system, allowing the transmission of data to a reader placed several meters away from the reactor.