Get access

Stratification of the Radiation Field Inside a Photobioreactor During Microalgae Growth

Authors

  • Josué M. Heinrich,

    1. Institute for the Technological Development of the Chemical Industry (INTEC), Group of Innovation on Bio-processes Engineering, National Research Council (CONICET), University of Littoral (UNL), Santa Fe, Argentina
    2. Department of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences (FBCB), Group of Innovation on Bio-processes Engineering, University of Littoral (UNL), Santa Fe, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ignacio Niizawa,

    1. Institute for the Technological Development of the Chemical Industry (INTEC), Group of Innovation on Bio-processes Engineering, National Research Council (CONICET), University of Littoral (UNL), Santa Fe, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Fausto A. Botta,

    1. Institute for the Technological Development of the Chemical Industry (INTEC), Group of Innovation on Bio-processes Engineering, National Research Council (CONICET), University of Littoral (UNL), Santa Fe, Argentina
    2. Department of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences (FBCB), Group of Innovation on Bio-processes Engineering, University of Littoral (UNL), Santa Fe, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Alejandro R. Trombert,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences (FBCB), Group of Innovation on Bio-processes Engineering, University of Littoral (UNL), Santa Fe, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Horacio A. Irazoqui

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biochemistry and Biological Sciences (FBCB), Group of Innovation on Bio-processes Engineering, University of Littoral (UNL), Santa Fe, Argentina
    • Institute for the Technological Development of the Chemical Industry (INTEC), Group of Innovation on Bio-processes Engineering, National Research Council (CONICET), University of Littoral (UNL), Santa Fe, Argentina
    Search for more papers by this author

Corresponding author email: hirazo@santafe-conicet.gov.ar (Horacio A. Irazoqui)

Abstract

Light availability is a main issue in autotrophic growth of photosynthetic microorganisms. The change of the suspended cells concentration and that of their chlorophylls content during microalgal growth alters the optical properties of the aqueous suspension. This brings about changes in the properties of the radiation field inside the reactor. In this work, we have computed the evolution in time of the local volumetric rate of absorption of photons inside a photobioreactor by means of a Monte Carlo simulation algorithm previously developed. From this study, we have computed two operational variables that are useful tools for the analysis, performance comparison, optimization and scaling up of photobioreactors: the average rate of photon absorption and the volumetric distribution function of photons absorption rates. Based on these two variables, it is possible to systematically quantify the degree of stratification of the culture medium, which is a decisive aspect that hampers the reactor efficiency regarding the energy usage for biomass production.

Get access to the full text of this article

Ancillary