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Microalgae Bulk Growth Model with Application to Industrial Scale System


The scalability of microalgae growth systems is a primary research topic in anticipation of the commercialization of microalgae-based biofuels. To date, there is little published data on the productivity of microalgae in growth systems that are scalable to commercially viable footprints. To inform the development of more detailed assessments of industrial-scale microalgae biofuel processes, this paper presents the construction and validation of a model of microalgae biomass and lipid accumulation in an outdoor, industrial-scale photobioreactor. The model incorporates a time-resolved simulation of microalgae growth and lipid accumulation based on solar irradiation, species specific characteristics, and photobioreactor geometry. The model is validated with 9 weeks of growth data from an industrially-scaled outdoor photobioreactor. Discussion focuses on the sensitivity of the model input parameters, a comparison of predicted microalgae productivity to the literature, and an analysis of the implications of this more detailed growth model on microalgae biofuels lifecycle assessment studies.


Quinn, J., de Winter, L., Bradley, T.


Bioresource Technology


Quinn J, de Winter L, Bradley T. Microalgae bulk growth model with application to industrial scale systems. Bioresour Technol. 2011 Apr;102(8):5083-92. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2011.01.019.


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