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Characterization of bubble column photobioreactors for shear-sensitive microalgae culture

López-Rosales, Lorenzo, Sánchez-Mirón, Asterio, Contreras-Gómez, Antonio, García-Camacho, Francisco, Battaglia, Francine, Zhao, Lei, Molina-Grima, Emilio
Bioresource technology 2019 v.275 pp. 1-9
Miozoa, algae, algae culture, carbon dioxide, energy, headspace analysis, hydrodynamics, liquids, mass transfer, photobioreactors
The shear-sensitive marine algal dinoflagellate Karlodinium veneficum was grown in a cylindrical bubble column photobioreactor with an internal diameter of 0.044 m. Initial liquid height varied from 0.5 to 1.75 m, superficial gas velocities from 0.0014 to 0.0057 ms−1, and nozzle diameter from 1 to 2.5 mm. Computational fluid dynamics was used to characterize the flow hydrodynamics and energy dissipation rates. Experimental gas holdup and volumetric mass transfer coefficient strongly depended on the liquid height and correlated well with the Froude number. Energy dissipation near the head space (EDtop) was one order of magnitude higher than the average energy dissipation in the whole reactor (EDwhole), and the value in the sparger zone (EDspar) was one order of magnitude higher than EDtop. Cultures of K. veneficum were limited by CO2 transfer at low EDwhole and severely stressed above a critical value of EDwhole.