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Chapter in: R. Pogaku and R. Hj. Sarbatly (eds.), Advances in Biofuels, pp. 241-258, 2013: Springer, New York.

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6249-1_14

Membrane Photobioreactor as a Device to Increase CO2 Mitigation by

Rosalam Hj. Sarbatly and Emma Suali

The integration of a membrane contactor with a photobioreactor serves two major purposes for the
mitigation of CO2 by microalgae, i.e., to enhance the mass transfer and interfacial contact between
two different phases and to increase the exchange process of CO2–O2 by microalgae in the
photobioreactor. The membrane integrated with a photobioreactor for CO2 mitigation by
microalgae can be considered as a relatively new field, and only four or five related research efforts
have been published in the literature, suggesting that a significant amount of work remains to be
done in this field. In addition, all of the authors agreed that a membrane contactor is capable of
achieving better mass transfer than the conventional approach of using a separation column in the
gas–liquid separation process. One significant problem associated with using a membrane as a
CO2 –O2 gas exchanger is its susceptibility to pore fouling due to the micron-size cells of the
microalgae. However, pore fouling can be prevented by using a hydrophobic membrane contactor
and appropriate operating conditions, both of which are discussed in detail in this work.

Keywords:CO2 sequestration, microalgae, membrane photobioreactor, biomass

R. Sarbatly, E. Suali, Algal Research 5: 274–282, 2014: Elsevier
DOI: 10.1016/j.algal.2014.04.001

Indirect membrane-based bubbling as an alternative technique to increase the

carbonation of microalgal media

Rosalam Sarbatly and Emma Suali

This work discusses an indirect membrane-based bubbling technique and operating conditions for
using membranes for high carbonation efficiency and microalgae productivity. The technique
resulted in 82% carbonation efficiency compared to 42% and 29% using a direct membrane-based
bubbling and direct bubbling without using a membrane, respectively. The indirect membrane-
based bubbling resulted in microalgae productivity that was approximately 10% higher than the
typically accepted technique, prevented cell collection from fouling. The membrane, and increased
microalgae capacity to capture and use CO2 for photosynthesis. This technique has significance
not only for CO2 mitigation progress but also for the biomass production of microalgae. This
technique also decreases the amount of CO2 that escapes into the bioreactor headspace and
atmosphere during carbonation.

Keywords: Carbonation, microalgae, bioreactor, CO2 uptake, hydrophobic membrane