Algal Bioreactor Design & Development

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Overturf, Alanna; Fleming, Erich, PhD; Aguayo, Anabell; Cortez, Gabriel; Bedard, Sarah; Moghaddami, Mina; Espioza, Elias; Tabor, Peter; Waddel, Benjamin
Biology; Biotechnology
poster description
Certain lipid-producing stains of algae can be grown as a renewable source of biodiesel. However, current algal cultivation systems are expensive to build and operate and therefore cost prohibitive for using in algal biofuel production. Our research is focused on building and testing a cost-effective algal bioreactor system. Our bioreactor concept promotes prolonged growth while employing a self-harvesting mechanism which will likely reduce bioreactor down-time, reduce the amount of time cleaning the bioreactor and reduce costs associated with the pumping of liquids compared to currently available algal bioreactor. While the mass production of algae is possible with this system, the application remains unclear. In the current study, the air-lift component of the bioreactor was tested under various air flow rates, media nutrient ratios, and light intensities to determine the optimal growth conditions for Chlorella vulgaris and Nannochloropsis sp.