Improvement of mass transfer characteristics and productivities of inclined tubular photobioreactors by installation of internal static mixers
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- Ugwu, C., Ogbonna, J. & Tanaka, H. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol (2002) 58: 600. doi:10.1007/s00253-002-0940-9
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The feasibility of improving mass transfer characteristics of inclined tubular photobioreactors by installation of static mixers was investigated. The mass transfer characteristics of the tubular photobioreactor varied depending on the type (shape) and the number of static mixers. The volumetric oxygen transfer coefficient (kLa) and gas hold up of the photobioreactor with internal static mixers were significantly higher than those of the photobioreactor without static mixers. The kLa and gas hold up increased with the number of static mixers but the mixing time became longer due to restricted liquid flow through the static mixers. By installing the static mixers, the liquid flow changed from plug flow to turbulent mixing so that cells were moved between the surface and bottom of the photobioreactor. In outdoor culture of Chlorella sorokiniana, the photobioreactor with static mixers gave higher biomass productivities irrespective of the standing biomass concentration and solar radiation. The effectiveness of the static mixers (average percentage increase in the productivities of the photobioreactor with static mixers over the productivities obtained without static mixers) was higher at higher standing biomass concentrations and on cloudy days (solar radiation below 6 MJ m–2 day–1).