Real-time, large-scale simulation of biological systems is challenging due to different types of nonlinear functions describing biochemical reactions in the cells. The promise of the high speed, cost effectiveness, and power efficiency in addition to parallel processing has made application-specific hardware an attractive simulation platform. This paper proposes high-speed and low-cost digital hardware to emulate a biological-plausible astrocyte and glutamate-release mechanism. The nonlinear terms of these models were calculated using a high-precision and cost-effective algorithm. Subsequently, the modified models were simulated to study and validate their functions. We developed several hardware versions by setting different constraints to investigate trade-offs and find the best possible design. FPGA implementation results confirmed the ability of the design to emulate biological cell behaviours in detail with high accuracy. As for performance, the proposed design turned out to be faster and more efficient than previously published works that targeted digital hardware for biological-plausible astrocytes.