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Keywords:

  • novel photobioreactor;
  • model;
  • light;
  • microalgae;
  • kinetic;
  • mass transfer

Abstract

Over the past ten years a great deal of literature has focused on the biotechnological potential of microalgal commercial applications, mainly in the field of biofuel production. However, the biofuel production is not yet competitive, mainly due to the incidence of the photobioreactor technology on the process cost. Besides, major advances in classic photobioreactor design, several novel configurations have been proposed in the last 20 years to improve their performance expressed in terms of light absorption, biomass productivity, light to biomass yield and photosynthetic efficiency. This review aims at analyzing and classifying the most recent advances and the several novel approaches to the design, development, control and modeling of photobioreactors. The diverse approaches are grouped considering irradiance strategies, multiphase hydrodynamics, mass transfer mechanisms, modeling approaches and control strategies. Some innovative applications of the photobioreactor technology are also reported. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry