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Seminar 2010-11

A Seminar Report On

Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors


Under the Guidance of Mr. CHETAN PATEL Assistant Professor CHED


Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors


Seminar 2010-11

This is to certify that candidates Miss. PUSHPA BHAGAT (U07CH135) has submitted the TRAINING REPORT for the fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Bachelor of Technology in C hemical Engineering B.TECH (200711).

Examiner: 1)



Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors


I thank our project guide Mr. Mousumi Chakraborty.Seminar 2010-11 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I express my sincere thanks to Dr. Chetan Patel for great help and guidance in preparing and presenting my seminar report. Head of the department for providing me the guidance and facilities for the project. I also extend my sincere thanks to all other faculty members of Chemical department and my friends for their support and encouragement. Pushpa Bhagat U07CH135 Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 3 .

1 Open Pond««««««««««««««««««««««10 2.2 Flate Plate Photobioreactor«««««««««««««««..2 Why we need microalgae««««««««««««««««..Seminar 2010-11 CONTENTS Abstract Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Factors Effecting Growth Rate«««««««««««««.1 Construction««««««««««««««««««.6 1..2 Challenges and Future Prospects««««««««««««.23 REFERENCES«««««««««««««««««««««««««.18 Chapter 5 PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF PHOTOBIOREACTORS 5.13 3...20 5.««.22 SUMMARY«««««««««««««««««««««««««««..7 Chapter 2 HOW TO GROW ALGAE 2...12 3.1 Macro vs microalgae««««««««««««««««««.3 Vertical Photobioreactor«««««««««««««««« 14 Chapter 4 CONSTRUCTION AND WORKING 4.2 Photobioreactors«««««««««««««««««««..3 Literature Survey on production of oil by microalgae««««.17 4.6 1..24 Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 4 .10 Chapter 3 TYPES OF PHOTOBIOREACTORS 3.2 Working«««««««««««««««««««««««.1 Tubular Photobioreactor««««««««««««««««.

Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 5 .Seminar 2010-11 ABSTRACT Current biofuel production relies on limited arable lands on the earth. This article includes comparision of traditional open ponds and photobioreactions in production of algae mass. This report provides an overview of the biological and engineering aspects in the production and processing of algae into energy fuels in photobioreactors. working and their application. It also discusses different type of photoreactors. Oil producing algae are alternative biofuel feedstock with potential to meet the world¶s ambitious goal to replace fossil fuels. and is impossible to meet the biofuel demands. their construction.

it is possible today to use microalgae as feed stock for biofuels. ethanol. Algae present multiple possibility for fuel end products-biodiesel. parameters. As of mid 2010. 1. jet fuel. biocrude and more-via a wide range of process routes. over hundreds of companies and over hundreds of universities have begun serious exploratory efforts into algal fields. dynamics and challenges. Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 6 . gasification (for deriving biodiesel. Efforts into algal fuel research have accelerated in past few years. 3) With processes such as cellulosic fermentation (for deriving alcohol). 2) Macroalgae on the other hand present low cost cultivation and harvesting possibilities.2Why we need microalgae? Continuous use of petroleum sourced fuels is now widely recognized as unsustainable because of depleting supplies and the contribution of these fuels to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in environment. ethanol and a wide range of hydrocarbons) or anaerobic digestion (for methane or electricity generation). There is strong view among industry professionals that the algae represent the most optimal feedstock for biofuel production in long run. Each set of process represents its own set of opportunities . 1. but most of the species are low in lipids and carbohydrates. It is also widely acceptable that algae alone and no other biostock have ability to replace entire global fossil fuel requirements.Seminar 2010-11 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION: Algae fuel provides an exciting opportunity. methane.1 Macro vs Micro algae: 1) Microalgae have high oil content but are difficult to cultivate.

3 Literature Survey for production of oil by M icroalgae : Various steps are involved in production of fuels: [1] 1.Seminar 2010-11 Microalgae have emerged as one of the most promising sources for biodiesel production. Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 7 . With tens of thousands of strains to choose from this easier said than done. 1. Thus no more addition of CO2 to the environment. in the right environment and media is a challenge from algae fuel production companies. A number of parameters need to be kept in mind while evaluating algal strains for their suitability as biofuel feedstock. Culture of the microalgae in proper medium: Cost effective algal cultivation is a key requisite of success of biofuel production. However such cultivation of right strain of microalgae. Various methods for growing it in pond or in photobioreactors are available. 2. Table Showing Capacity to produce oil per unit area per year [8] Gallons of Oil per Acre per Year Corn Soybeans Safflower Sunflower 18 48 83 102 Rapeseed 127 Oil Palm 635 Micro Algae 5000-15000 From the above table we can see that Micro-algae can produce maximum capacity to produce oil per unit area per year. Strain with high oil content should be chooses for mass fuel production. Selection of algal strain: Selection of optimal algal strain is a key component of a successful algal fuel venture. It is an eco-friendly fuel as the CO2 taken from environment to produce lipids is returned back to environment when being burnt.

Interrupting CO2 can cause the algae to flocculate its own.Seminar 2010-11 3. The mixtures were transferred into a separatory funnel and shaken for 5 min. Harvesting of microalgae: Harvesting is by centrifugation. Flocculation is tougher in salt water. In froth floatation process cultivator aerates the water into froth and algal mass is skims from the top. d) Sonification using a sonicator at resonance of 10 kHz for 5 min and e) Osmotic shock using a 10% NaCl solution with a vortex for 1 minute and maintained for 48 hours Second step is to extract the lipids. Table 1 ALGAE TO ENERGY ± SUMMARY OF EACH ENERGY PRODUCTS:[1] FINAL PRODUCT Biodiesel Ethanol Methane PROCESS Oil extraction and transesterification Fermentation Anaerobic digestion of biomass. methanation of syngas produced from biomass Hydrogen Tiggering biochemical processes in algae. This may be done by mixing chloroform± methanol (1:1 v/v) with the samples in a proportion of 1:1. Extraction of lipids from microalgae: The first thing here we do is to disrupt the cells. froth floatation. Other chemical agents such as alum and ferric chloride are used. The weight of the crude lipid obtained from each sample was measured using an electronic scale. gasification/pyrolysis processing of biomass of biomass and and resulting of Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 8 .5MPa. This is done by.[2] 4. c) Microwaves using a microwave oven at a high temperature about 100°C and 2450MHz for 5 minutes. b) Bead-beating using bead beater at a high speed of 2800 rpm for 5 min. flocculation.[3] a) Autoclaving at 125°C and 1. The lipid fraction was then separated from the separatory funnel and the solvent evaporated using a rotary evaporator.

Gasification of biomass Other hydrocarbon fuels Gasification/pyrolysis of biomass and processing of biomass and resulting of syngas. Heat and electricity Direct combustion of algae biomass.Seminar 2010-11 syngas. Fig 1 Various pathways to produce energy by algae mass[1] Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 9 .

Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 10 . Generally artificial cemented open ponds are used.1 Open ponds: These are preliminary way of production of microalgae.Seminar 2010-11 Chapter 2 METHODS TO GROW ALGAE: 2.2 Photobioreactors(closed or open) These are more compact fermenters in which phototrophic microalgae are cultivated where their growth and propagation is promoted at the same time as the various substances are produced by photosynthetic cell. The open ponds can be natural or constructed. Fig 1 Open pond [4] 2.

the requirement. Batch mode requires restocking the reactor after each harvest. It¶s a batch process.Seminar 2010-11 Fig 2 Tubular Photobioreactor[5] Fig 3 Flat Plate photobioreactor[6] Table No 2 Difference between open pond and photobioreactors: OPEN POND Lake or ponds are open to the elements. and carbon dioxide at the correct rates. Precise control over nutrient supply. nutrients. It is expensive and advanced in design. Difficult to control temperature and lighting. The grower provides sterilized water. species or bacteria. There can not be much It can be batch or continuous depending upon of volume change in production. PHOTOBIOREACTORS They are mainly closed systems. Its highly vulnerable to contamination by Its no contamination by other microbes since other microorganisms such as other algal its closes. Continuous operation requires precise control of all elements to prevent immediate collapse. This allows the reactor to operate for long periods. air. lighting and CO2. Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 11 . temperature. It is cheaper and easily constructed.

inclined photobioreactor.Seminar 2010-11 Chapter 3 TYPES OF PHOTOBIOREACTORS: 3. They can be in form of horizontal / serpentine. vertical near horizontal. some studies have shown that very high dissolved oxygen (DO) levels are easily reached in tubular photobioreactors. Fig 4 Tubular photobioreactor[1] Tubular photobioreactor are very suitable for outdoor mass cultures of algae since they have large illumination surface area. one of the major limitations of tubular photobioreactor is poor mass transfer. conical. Most outdoor tubular photobioreactors are usually constructed with either glass or plastic tube and their cultures are recirculated either with pump or preferably with airlift system. On the other hand.[13] Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 12 . Aeration and mixing of the cultures in tubular photobioreactors are usually done by air-pump or airlift systems. tubular photobioreactor is one of the most suitable types for outdoor mass cultures.1 Tubular photobioreactors[1] Among the proposed photobioreactors. For instance. It should be noted that mass transfer (oxygen build-up) becomes a problem when tubular photobioreactors are scaled up.

hence. which would consequently increase the cost of algal production. y Prospects Large illumination surface area Suitable for outdoor cultures. Furthermore. 3. In this case. it is difficult to control culture temperatures in most tubular photobioreactors. Also. Properly designed tubular photobioreactors completely isolate the culture from potentially contaminating external environments. On the other hand. Fouling. the length of the tube can be kept as short as possible while a tubular photobioreactor is scaled up by increasing the diameter of the tubes. long tubular photobioreactors are characterized by gradients of oxygen and CO2 transfer along the tubes . photoinhibition is very common in outdoor tubular photobioreactors . the illumination surface to volume ratio would decrease. coiled or looped transparent tubing arranged in various ways for maximizing sunlight capture. Also.Seminar 2010-11 Tubular photobioreactors consist of straight.2 Flat plate bioreactors[1] Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 13 . some degree of wall growth. allowing extended duration monoalgal culture. dissolved oxygen and CO2 along the tubes. the cells at the lower part of the tube will not receive enough light for cell growth (due to light shading effect) unless there is a good mixing system. Although they can be equipped with thermostat to maintain the desired culture temperature. this could be very expensive and difficult to implement. Fairly good biomass productivities Relatively cheap. Requires large land space. It should also be noted that adherence of the cells of the walls of the tubes is common in tubular photobioreactors. The increase in pH of the cultures would also lead to frequent re-carbonation of the cultures.When a tubular photobioreactor is scaled up by increasing the diameter of tubes. y Limitations Gradients of pH.

high photosynthetic efficiencies can be achieved. Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 14 . It has been reported that with flat-plate photobioreactors.Seminar 2010-11 Generally. Prospects y y y y y y y y y Large illumination surface area Suitable for outdoor cultures Good for immobilization of algae Good light path Good biomass productivities Relatively cheap Easy to clean up Readily tempered Low oxygen buildup. flat-plate photobioreactors are made of transparent materials for maximum utilization of solar light energy. Limitations y y y y Scale-up require many compartments and support materials Difficulty in controlling culture temperature Some degree of wall growth Possibility of hydrodynamic stress to some algal strains.[13] Flat-plate photobioreactors are very suitable for mass culture of algae. Accumulation of dissolved oxygen concentrations in flatplate photobioreactors is relatively low compared to horizontal tubular photobioreactors.

and easy to operate monoseptically . Reduced photoinhibition and photo-oxidation. It was reported that bubble-column and airlift photobioreactors (up to 0. Fig 6 Vertical Photobioreactors[9] Prospects y y y y y y y High mass transfer Good mixing with low shear stress Low energy consumption. intermixing occurs between the riser and the downcomer zones of the photobioreactor through the walls of the draft tube. Vertical-column photobioreactors are compact. they are very promising for large-scale cultivation of algae.Seminar 2010-11 3. In the case of draft tube photobioreactors. Good for immobilization of algae. Limitations y y y Small illumination surface area Their construction require sophisticated materials Shear stress to algal cultures 15 Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors .3 Vertical column bioreactors: Various designs and scales of vertical-column photobioreactors have been tested for cultivation of algae.19 m in diameter) can attain a final biomass concentration and specific growth rate that are comparable to values typically reported for narrow tubular photobioreactors. readily tempered. Easy to sterilize. High potentials for scalability. Some bubble column photobioreactors are equipped with either draft tubes or constructed as split cylinders. Furthermore. low-cost.

Accelerates the growth Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 16 . Prevent contamination by hostile species. photobioreactors should posses the following characteristics/properties: y y y High surface to volume ratio High mass transfer rate High surface illumination Following are the advantages of photobioreactor: y y y Variable volume and dynamic conditions are available.Seminar 2010-11 y Decrease of illumination surface area upon scale-up. For the successful outdoor algae mass cultivation.

Seminar 2010-11 Chapter 4 CONSTRUCTION AND WORKING OF PHOTOBIOREACTOR: 4.1.Construction Fig 7 Tubular Reactor:[19] Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 17 .

Seminar 2010-11 Fig 8 Flat plate Reactor:[19] Fig 9 Vertical Aerated Photobioreactor:[19] The following problems must be resolved while constructing a photobioreactor :[12] Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 18 .

Seminar 2010-11 1. the cultivator design must provide for the uniform illumination of the culture surface and the fast mass transfer of CO2 and O2. These tubes provide a large area exposed to the fluorescence light. High rates of mass transfer must be attained by means that neither damage cultured cells nor suppress their growth. If weather permitted. particularly of this light-transmitting surfaces. The reactor design should be universal and permit the cultivation of unicellular photosynthesizing organisms. The air flow rate is set in the range of 193 ± 210 gal/hr. This necessitates photobioreactos to be frequently shut down for their mechanical cleaning and sterilization. Culture flow rate is maintained in turbulent regime with a Re >2000 to assure a good mixing and agitation. 3. as often occurs in reactors with high rates of mass transfer. This TPBR could be used indoor with artificial source of photonic energy such as fluorescence lamps with low light intensity compared to sunlight. 4. various 2. the volume of the nonilluminated parts of the reactor should be minimized. 5. For the industrial-scale production of biomass. Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 19 . In order to ensure a high efficiency of light use by the culture. 6. the system could be set outdoor using sunlight as a source of photonic energy to minimize production cost. The photobioreactor must fuction normally under conditions of intense foaming. Air compressor supplies air to the system for aeration and to serve as a source of carbon dioxide.2 Working of typical Photobioreactor:[7] Culture medium was pumped into the tubings at set at fixed flow rate. The reactor. 4. which results in the rapid fouling of the lighttransmitting surfaces of reactors. Cells of microalgae are highly adhesive. 7. the energy consumption required for mass transfer and the arrangement of the light-receiving surface of the algal suspension must be reduced to its minimum possible level. In order to attain high productivity.

these studies utilize sophisticated control methods Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 20 . It accelerates the growth of microorganism. When culture densities are low during early stages of logarithmic growth. and a low light flux is adequate. Studies have shown that light control in photobioreactors can serve to improve growth rates [9. higher intensity light is required to penetrate deeper and be more available to growing cultures. So most of the photobioreactors are designed out of transparent material.1 Factors effecting growth rate: Many factors effect the growth of mircoalgae in photobioreactor: 1) Light .Light is needed for the photosynthesis process. light effectively penetrates through the entire culture medium.Seminar 2010-11 Fig 10 Working of tubular photobioreactor [7] Chapter 5: PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF PHOTOBIOREACTOR: 5. In dense suspensions.11].10] as well as final biomass concentrations [10. However.

and perhaps unnecessary. The gas exchange between the atmosphere and the culture medium is dependent on gradient of the partial pressure of the gases across the gas-liquid boundary layer. Further increase of pH will limit the growth.When environmental conditions are not growth limiting. 5) Agitation. 1984) [14]. Simpler methods that involve only periodic alteration of growth parameters are more practical. the higher the CO2 gradient under a given carbonate alkalinity and the higher the possible contribution of free carbon from the atmosphere.Seminar 2010-11 that include frequent changes in light intensities. Below and above this range the enzymes in the micro-organisms do not function properly and the growth is inhibited. The higher the pH. 2) Temperature: There is an ideal temperature range that is required for algae to grow. agitation done to create a turbulent flow in the photobioreactor constitutes the most important requisite for constant high yield of algal mass. In large-scale systems processing several million gallons of algal cultures for biofuel production.(Lee and Pirt. such precise controls are likely to be difficult to implement. Fig10 : Optimum Temperature curve [15] 3) Medium/Nutrients ± composition of the water is an important consideration (including salinity) 4) pH ±algae typically need a pH between 7 and 9 to have an optimum growth rate. One basic reason for mixing is to prevent the Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 21 .

the growth rate goes on decreasing. causing the solar radiation impinging on the surface of the photobioreactor to be distributed more evenly to all the cells in the culture [16]. relates to the phenomenon of mutual shading [17]. 6) Aeration: One of the important factors in large scale production of algae is aeration. this being. The major objective for creating a turbulent flow in cultures. Another relevant point is that the high density of actively photosynthesizing cells creates an extremely high concentration of dissolved oxygen which. Such gradients impose restrictions on the growth rate and are alleviated with high turbulence. in large commercial pond. The pump to circulate the culture represents an integral part of any photobioreactor. particularly severe in those area where the turbulence is very low. Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 22 . may reach at midday concentration of over 400% saturation. For this reason peristaltic pumps and airlift which are used for photobioreactor are superior to centrifugal or rotary positive displacement pump in supporting maximal growth rate in microalgae[18]. With increasing the capacity . The more vigorous the mixing. the less would the O2 build-up in the culture [16]. It ensures the uniform supply of CO2 in the photobioreactor and enhances the growth rate. 7) Photoperiod: Light & dark cycles play important role in the growth of microalgae. 5. Also high turbulence relates to the nutritional and gaseous gradients formed around the algal cells in the course of metabolic activity. The growth rate can be altered easily by changing the light/dark period. The turbulent flow induces a continuous shift in the relative position of the cells with respect to the photic zone.Seminar 2010-11 microalgal cell from sinking. Most of the research work is going on the scale up and optimization. and special attention should be given to ascertain that circulating the culture volume is carried out with minimal shearing forces.2Challenges faced and Future Prospects of Photobioreactors: One of the major challenges is the scale up of the photobioreactors. however.

The construction of the photobioreactors are such that it will be exposed to maximum light. Micro-algae can be cultured in both open pond and photobioreactors. we prefer photobioreactors. There are three types of photobioreactors viz tubular. But as the photobioreactors have lots of advantages over open pond. This is the most preferable alternative to fuels as it has high capacity per unit area per unit time. Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 23 . No doubt the photoreactor are one of the most researched and burning topic as it provides a base for the large scale production of biofuels.Seminar 2010-11 Once the these problems are tackled the photobioreactors can be commercialised in future and can become a base for the alternative source of fuel. Mixing and aeration is provided to increase the growth rate along with the varying light intensities. flat plate and vertical aerated photobioreactors. it is eco-friendly and can be cultivated easily. SUMMARY Microalgae can fulfil the need of fuels.

Hee-Mock [2] www.altdotenergy. 111 [4]www. Environmental Biotechnology Research Center.mvm. Farag. www. Biodiesel Production from Microalgae Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 24 . Ihab H.php [6] www. Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology (KRIBB) Comparison of several methods for effective lipid extraction from microalgae.kit.Seminar 2010-11 REFERENCES [1]Comprehensive algae report. Chi-Yong Ahn. Chan [3] Jae-Yon Lee. So-Young [5] [7]Nkongolo Mulumba.

(2008).J. 476±482. [11] Wijanarko. H. 42. Azevedo. No. No. Vol. F.. Witarto. K. A. 1986. [19] http://biofuels2010. Cultivating Algae for Liquid Fuel Production [9] Meireles.Seminar 2010-11 [8] Riesing Thomas F. Ahn. On-line control of light intensity in microalgal bioreactor using a novel automatic system. A. M.. Vol.. X.V.. Pit-t.M... Walach. 1984.´ Annual Review of Plant Physiology. Received June 9. ³Factors affecting the Output Rate of SpiruIina Platensis with Reference to Mass Cultivation. M.. ³Mass culture of algae. 8 [16] Richmond. C. [14] Lee.N. 1983. Richmond et al. M.. 18. J.. 309-334. L. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology.. Hermansyah. 1957. & Gozan.H. 2001). Y-K.´ Biomass.U. S-J. Sendjaya. B. pp. (2008). H. Vol. Russican Academy of Sciences. Molina et al. Dianursanti.E.. 13. R. 35-38. E. J.. H.Gabel. J..´ Journal of Chemical Technology and Biotechnology. 33B. T.127276 Russia. Lee. Cunha. Y.Fal¶kovich and V. [12]Closes Photobio reactors for Microalgal cultivation L. 10. [18] Pirt. (2008). Tsoglin.. 554±559. L.Semeneko Timiryazev Institute of Plant Physiology. J.html Energy Production By Microalgae in Photobioreactors 25 .. 1986.. 1. J. 253264 [17] Tamiya. pp. C. Biotechnology and Bioprocessing Engineering..blogspot. Enzyme and Microbial Technology. 1995 [13] Torzillo et al. H. A. Balyuzi H. Enhanced Chlorella vulgaris Buitenzorg growth by photon flux density alteration in serial photobioreactors. ul. 4. Botanicheskaya 35.. A. A. and Bazin. Y. & Park. 28-32.. S-J. M-W. Vol.´ Journal Chemical Technology and Biotechnology..N. Shin. B. µCO2 absorption rate in an algalculture: Effect of pH. [15] www.. 918±925. High cell density culture of Anabaena variabilis with controlled light intensity and nutrient supply. A. Moscow. T. P. H. pp. and 1. [10] Yoon. 1993. & Malcata. and Pit-t. Guedes...R. No.microcourse. Barbosa. 34B. ³A tubular bioreactor for photosynthetic production of biomass from carbon dioxide: design and performance..K.