Doctoral dissertation David Fernandes del Pozo - Experimental and Computational Fluid Dynamics study of an axial impeller in Anaerobic Digestion

PhD defense David Fernandes del Pozo

BIOMATH is proud to announce that David Fernandes del Pozo successfully defended his Doctoral Thesis, which is available for download at the bottom of this page. In his Ph.D., David Fernandes del Pozo aimed to increase our understanding of anaerobic digesters using a multidisciplinary approach. He did so by performing physical characterization of sludges, by gathering relevant hydrodynamic data for non-Newtonian fluids, and by developing a computer model to be able to predict the sludge motion inside stirring tank digesters.

David obtained his official MEng degree in Chemical Engineering in 2015 at the Technical School of Engineering of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain). He simultaneously completed an Erasmus+ internship at the Faculty of Bioscience Engineering at Ghent University. The resultant master’s thesis at the BIOMATH Department on mathematical modelling of microreactors led to his first scientific publication and triggered his interest in the modelling field. He later continued his work at BIOMATH on model-based analysis within the EU funded BIOINTENSE project. During this period, different work packages in process intensification of membrane enzymatic reactors were completed. In 2016, he was awarded funding for a Ph.D. program at BIOMATH under the GOA-BOF project named PRETREF (Prediction of Turbulent Reactive Flows). The ensuing research led to the publication of one peer-reviewed paper as first author in a high impact journal. His international presence includes five sessions at prestigious international conferences: three oral presentations and two scientific posters.



Abstract: Anaerobic Digestion is a promising sustainable technology that can reinforce the ongoing human efforts to fight climate change. Stable production of biogas might be difficult to achieve in full-scale digesters due to complexities associated with controlling the wild fluctuations in digester inlet feed. There are many types of digesters in wastewater treatment facilities, where stirring tanks are widely present. Stirring tanks are designed to provide fully mixed conditions and hence their upscaling is crucial. Therefore, this thesis attempts to develop a modelling framework suitable for stirring tanks, where the objective is to build a computer model that can predict the main hydrodynamic features present in a stirring tank anaerobic digester. Instead of focusing on traditional biokinetic models, the study focuses on accurately predicting sludge movements using a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model.



Dissertation Supervisors: 

  • Prof. dr. ir. Ingmar Nopens, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium
  • Prof. dr. ir. Kevin M. Van Geem, Laboratory For Chemical Technology, Ghent University, Belgium.


Examination Committee:


  • Prof. dr. ir. Korneel Rabaey (Chairman), CMET research group, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium.
  • Prof. dr. ir. Steven de Meester, Department of Green Chemistry and Technology, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Belgium.
  • Prof. dr. Alain Liné, Toulouse Biotechnology Institute, University of Toulouse, France.
  • dr. Yi Ouyang, Laboratory For Chemical Technology, Ghent University, Belgium.
  • dr. Jim Wicks, The Fluid Group, Oxford, United Kingdom.
Ghent - Belgium
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