Design of a low-cost biofilm-based-photobioreactor within EU-project ALGADISK

Project

Design of a low-cost biofilm-based-photobioreactor for CO2 capture and microalgae biomass production

There is an increasing demand for the production of microalgae as they can be used for a wide range of products like animal feed, food additives or to produce specific bio-chemicals.

Microalgae’s main energy source is light, which they use to fix carbon dioxide, nitrogen and phosphor into biomass. As lots of industries produce waste streams that contain these nutrients, the implementation of microalgae biomass production could have a positive effect on the environment and at the same time it will reduce the production costs. To integrate the production of these valuable green products with waste treatment at industrial sites a photobioreactor that is easy to scale and operate is preferable.

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Aim

To design a modular, low cost, biofilm photobioreactor for algae biomass production and CO2 sequestration.

Approach

Microalgae will grow in a biofilm on vertical rotating surfaces to benefit from the lower ratio between footprint and photobioreactor surface. The disks will be partially submerged in a growth medium, this way the mass transfer of nutrients and CO2 can be controlled by disk rotation speed. Design and operational parameters like disks dimensions, disks rotating speed, distance between the disks, and harvesting frequency will be optimized based on experimental work and modelling. The experimental work will be performed with a lab scale rotating disk photobioreactor in which growth can be monitored based on oxygen production measurements. The experiments will be designed in such a way that the results can be used in kinetic models. With the obtained kinetic models the most cost efficient biomass producing pilot scale photobioreactor will be designed and tested. Finally an energy balance will be carried out in order to verify the sustainability of the designed system, and if necessary adaptations will be made accordingly.

Thesis projects

Within this project there are various possibilities for doing a BSc or MSc thesis. If you are interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis, feel free to contact me.

Acknowledgements

The project is part of ALGADISK, which is a European FP7 project

References

www.algadisk.eu