Evaluation of algal biofilm reactor for commercial-scale microalgal cultivation for use in the food industry

Author : Manzano, Jeremiah Capule
Major Adviser : Butch G. Bataller
Committee Members : Alcantara, Jerico Z.; Sanchez, Denise Ester S.
Year : 2020
Month : July
Type : Thesis
Degree: BS
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Keywords: microalgal cultivation, biofilm, suspended growth, food, feed
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Algal biofilm reactors (ABR) in bench-scale or pilot-scale were compared with conventional suspended growth technologies and were further evaluated for possible commercial-scale cultivation. The production method, cost, and environmental footprint of this reactor were examined. The changes growth parameters and cost of the ABR when up scaling to commercial-scale is analyzed. These factors were considered when evaluating the viability of microalgal cultivation using the ABR in commercial-scale. When compared to suspended growth, the ABR are more productive and area-efficient. Also, the productivity of the ABR increases over time due to regrowth. Productivity increases at high daylight hours and temperature for the ABR. Furthermore, more strains of microalgae are viable in algal biofilm reactor cultivation than in suspended growth cultivation. The ABR also costs less as CO2 delivery system is not required, harvesting is cheap through mechanical scraping, and dewatering of the biomass is not necessary. ABR also consumes less water per biomass produced, produces less waste, and prevents contamination compared to suspended growth cultivation. Upon scaling up, the RABR does not significantly lose productivity; however, ash content may increase. High ash concentration within biomass can be reduced by reducing light intensity around the light saturation point (LSP). The increase in costs for increasing the scale of the ABR is not exponential, making the ABR promising for commercial-scale microalgal cultivation.

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