Optimizing microalgal production in raceway systems


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to R. Muñoz-Tamayo at rafaun@yahoo.com.


The industrial exploitation of microalgae is characterized by the production of high-value compounds. Optimization of the performance of microalgae culture systems is essential to render the process economically viable. For raceway systems, the optimization based on optimal control theory is rather challenging, because the process is by essence periodically forced and, as a consequence, optimization must be carried out in a periodic framework. In this article, we propose a simple operational criterion for raceway systems that when integrated in a strategy of closed-loop control allows attaining biomass productivities very near to the theoretical maximal productivities. The strategy developed was tested numerically using a mathematical model of microalgae growth in raceways. The model takes into account the temporal variation of the environmental variables temperature and light intensity and their influence on microalgae growth. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Biotechnol. Prog., 29: 543–552, 2013