Three-reaction model for the anaerobic digestion of microalgae

Authors

  • Francis Mairet,

    Corresponding author
    1. BIOCORE-INRIA, BP93, 06902 Sophia-Antipolis Cedex, France; telephone: +56 32 265 47 85; fax: +56 32 265 45 63
    2. Departamento de Matemática, Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, Valparaíso, Chile
    • BIOCORE-INRIA, BP93, 06902 Sophia-Antipolis Cedex, France; telephone: +56 32 265 47 85; fax: +56 32 265 45 63.
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  • Olivier Bernard,

    1. BIOCORE-INRIA, BP93, 06902 Sophia-Antipolis Cedex, France; telephone: +56 32 265 47 85; fax: +56 32 265 45 63
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  • Elliot Cameron,

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, Canada
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  • Monique Ras,

    1. INRA, UR050, Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l'Environnement, Avenue des Etangs, Narbonne, France
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  • Laurent Lardon,

    1. BIOCORE-INRIA, BP93, 06902 Sophia-Antipolis Cedex, France; telephone: +56 32 265 47 85; fax: +56 32 265 45 63
    2. INRA, UR050, Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l'Environnement, Avenue des Etangs, Narbonne, France
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  • Jean-Philippe Steyer,

    1. BIOCORE-INRIA, BP93, 06902 Sophia-Antipolis Cedex, France; telephone: +56 32 265 47 85; fax: +56 32 265 45 63
    2. INRA, UR050, Laboratoire de Biotechnologie de l'Environnement, Avenue des Etangs, Narbonne, France
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  • Benoît Chachuat

    1. Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, Canada
    2. Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, London, UK
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Abstract

Coupling an anaerobic digester to a microalgal culture has received increasing attention as an alternative process for combined bioenergy production and depollution. In this article, a dynamic model for anaerobic digestion of microalgae is developed with the aim of improving the management of such a coupled system. This model describes the dynamics of inorganic nitrogen and volatile fatty acids since both can lead to inhibition and therefore process instability. Three reactions are considered: Two hydrolysis–acidogenesis steps in parallel for sugars/lipids and for proteins, followed by a methanogenesis step. The proposed model accurately reproduces experimental data for anaerobic digestion of the freshwater microalgae Chlorella vulgaris with an organic loading rate of 1 gCOD L−1 d−1. In particular, the three-reaction pathway allows to adequately represent the observed decoupling between biogas production and nitrogen release. The reduced complexity of this model makes it suitable for developing advanced, model-based control and monitoring strategies. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012; 109:415–425. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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