A perfused membrane biofilm reactor for microalgae cultivation in tropical conditions

Berner, Florian, Heimann, Kirsten, and Sheehan, Madoc (2015) A perfused membrane biofilm reactor for microalgae cultivation in tropical conditions. In: Proceedings of the 16th Asia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress (2015) 3133047. pp. 291-301. From: APCChE 2015: 16th Asia Pacific Confederation of Chemical Engineering Congress, 27 September - 1 October 2015, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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Microalgae have potential to be used as a sustainable raw material in a wide range of applications, such as animal feed, biofuels and green chemistry. New cultivation systems are under development in order to improve productivity and system efficiency. Perfused membrane biofilm reactors are emerging as a potential alternative to traditional suspension systems, addressing the challenges of high dewatering costs. In this approach, the microalgal cells are grown as a biofilm attached to a semi-permeable membrane, through which liquid growth medium is supplied. The cells themselves are directly exposed to the surrounding atmosphere. The cultivation surfaces can be arranged as vertical panels, allowing high areal productivity. However, these systems have never been characterised in tropical environments, where high light intensity and extended growth periods offer significant potential for photosynthetic biomass production.

In this work we describe the construction, operation and sampling methodology of a perfused membrane biofilm reactor in Townsville, QLD, Australia (-19.15°S, tropical Savannah climate). A biofilm of Mesotaneium sp. was successfully cultivated under greenhouse conditions and growth curves were obtained. Maximal biomass productivity of up to 1.7 g.m-2 d-1 (dry weight) and a maximal biomass yield of 21.25 g.m-2 (dry weight) were recorded. Testing procedures were used to assess spatial variations in growth. Considerable differences between samples from different locations on the vertical panels indicate the need for structural design modifications to the reactor. Results are put in context to existing research and adaptations to deal with high temperatures and high evaporation rates in tropical regions are discussed

Item ID: 42963
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISBN: 978-1-922107-47-3
Keywords: microalgae, biofilm, attached cultivation, biomass production
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Funders: Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (AMCRC)
Projects and Grants: AMCRC Grant Number 2.3.2
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2016 01:07
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070401 Aquaculture @ 15%
10 TECHNOLOGY > 1003 Industrial Biotechnology > 100399 Industrial Biotechnology not elsewhere classified @ 60%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0607 Plant Biology > 060701 Phycology (incl Marine Grasses) @ 25%
SEO Codes: 82 PLANT PRODUCTION AND PLANT PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8299 Other Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 829999 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products not elsewhere classified @ 50%
86 MANUFACTURING > 8699 Other Manufacturing > 869999 Manufacturing not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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