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Continuous microalgal cultivation in a laboratory-scale photobioreactor under seasonal day–night irradiation: experiments and simulation

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In this work, the production of Scenedesmus obliquus in a continuous flat-plate laboratory-scale photobioreactor (PBR) under alternated day–night cycles was tested both experimentally and theoretically. Variation of light intensity according to the four seasons of the year were simulated experimentally by a tunable LED lamp, and effects on microalgal growth and productivity were measured to evaluate the conversion efficiency of light energy into biomass during the different seasons. These results were used to validate a mathematical model for algae growth that can be applied to simulate a large-scale production unit, carried out in a flat-plate PBR of similar geometry. The cellular concentration in the PBR was calculated in both steady-state and transient conditions, and the value of the maintenance kinetic term was correlated to experimental profiles. The relevance of this parameter was finally outlined.

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Correspondence to Eleonora Sforza.

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Bertucco, A., Beraldi, M. & Sforza, E. Continuous microalgal cultivation in a laboratory-scale photobioreactor under seasonal day–night irradiation: experiments and simulation. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 37, 1535–1542 (2014).

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  • Seasonal irradiation
  • Day–night cycles
  • Continuous photobioreactor
  • Growth model