Microalgal Reactors: A Review of Enclosed System Designs and Performances

Escola Superior de Biotecnologia, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, Rua Dr. António Bernardino de Almeida, P-4200-072 Porto, Portugal.
Biotechnology Progress (Impact Factor: 1.88). 12/2006; 22(6):1490-506. DOI: 10.1021/bp060065r
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT One major challenge to industrial microalgal culturing is to devise and develop technical apparata, cultivation procedures and algal strains susceptible of undergoing substantial increases in efficiency of use of solar energy and carbon dioxide. Despite several research efforts developed to date, there is no such thing as "the best reactor system"- defined, in an absolute fashion, as the one able to achieve maximum productivity with minimum operation costs, irrespective of the biological and chemical system at stake. In fact, choice of the most suitable system is situation-dependent, as both the species of alga available and the final purpose intended will play a role. The need of accurate control impairs use of open-system configurations, so current investigation has focused mostly on closed systems. In this review, several types of closed bioreactors described in the technical literature as able to support production of microalgae are comprehensively presented and duly discussed, using transport phenomenon and process engineering methodological approaches. The text is subdivided into subsections on: reactor design, which includes tubular reactors, flat plate reactors and fermenter-type reactors; and processing parameters, which include gaseous transfer, medium mixing and light requirements.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Industrial exploitation of microalgae for feed, food, and biofuel production is currently limited by several factors, among which those connected with large-scale cultivation are of the greatest importance. Photobioreactors (closed systems for algae cultivation) suffer from high energy expenditures (mixing, cooling, and embodied energy), while open ponds have a more favorable energy balance. However, cultures in large-scale open ponds have a considerable water footprint, are unstable and maintaining selected strains in these systems for long periods is difficult. In the last years, thanks to the renewed interest in microalgae as feedstock for biofuels, many new photobioreactor designs have been proposed, most of them aiming at reducing costs. Besides improvements of the classic tubular and flat panel designs, some new concepts have been proposed, like hybrid systems combining open ponds and photobioreactors, and floating photobioreactors, which aim at exploiting water bodies instead of land for algae cultivation.
    Handbook of Microalgal Culture: Applied Phycology and Biotechnology, Second Edition edited by Amos Richmond, Qiang Hu, 01/2013: chapter 13: pages 225-266; Wiley, Oxford.
  • Source
    OCEANS’14 Conference. IEEE Xplore, St Johns, Nova Scotia; 09/2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An initiative has been taken to develop different solid, liquid, and gaseous biofuels as the alternative energy resources. The current research and technology based on the third generation biofuels derived from algal biomass have been considered as the best alternative bioresource that avoids the disadvantages of first and secod generation biofuels. Algal biomass has been investigated for the implementation of economic conversion processes producing different biofuels such as biodiesel, bioethanol, biogas, biohydrogen, and other valuable co-products. In the present review, the recent findings and advance developments in algal biomass for improved biofuel production have been explored. This review discusses about the importance of the algal cell contents, various strategies for product formation through various conversion technologies, and its future scope as an energy security.
    Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 02/2015; 2. DOI:10.3389/fbioe.2014.00090


Available from