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Light in a Photobioreactor

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131620672,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   Anand Rajendran, Gary A. Anderson, Xingzhong Yan, Stephen Gent
Keywords:   Biofuels Photobioreactor Algae Light Luminescence

Abstract. Photobioreactors can be used to produce biofuels by growing microalgae in a controlled environment. The control factors are pH, CO2, light and nutrients. Among these factors, light is the primary source of energy for photoautotrophic microorganism growth. Therefore, the most important factor in microalgae production is achieving an efficient use of light in the culture. In order to achieve a homogeneous growth of the microalgae in a photobioreactor, light has to be distributed evenly to the microalgae cell culture throughout the volume of the photobioreactor. This paper deals with the distribution of light over the surface of a photobioreactor with different wavelengths and intensities. Light penetration deep into the cell culture without causing cell damage is discussed. A method of light energy storage through the use of luminescence is presented. Luminescence concepts can be used to illuminate photobioreactor either as supplement to natural light or during dark periods.

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