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Development of a rotating algal biofilm growth system for attached microalgae growth with in situ biomass harvest.

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      Abstract

      This work aimed to develop a rotating algal biofilm (RAB) cultivation system that can be widely adopted by microalgae producers for easy biomass harvest. Algal cells were grown on the surface of a material rotating between nutrient-rich liquid and CO2-rich gaseous phase. Scrapping biomass from the attached surface avoided the expensive harvest operations such as centrifugation. Among various attachment materials, cotton sheet resulted in best algal growth, durability, and cost effectiveness. A lab-scale RAB system was further optimized with harvest frequency, rotation speed, and CO2 levels. The algal biomass from the RAB system had a similar water content as that in centrifuged biomass. An open pond raceway retrofitted with a pilot-scale RAB system resulted in a much higher biomass productivity when compared to a control open pond. Collectively, the research shows that the RAB system is an efficient algal culture system for easy biomass harvest with enhanced biomass productivity.

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      Author and article information

      Affiliations
      [1 ] Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.
      Journal
      Bioresour. Technol.
      Bioresource technology
      Elsevier BV
      1873-2976
      0960-8524
      Dec 2013
      : 150
      24161650
      S0960-8524(13)01596-4
      10.1016/j.biortech.2013.10.016

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