Journal of Applied Phycology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 1169–1175 | Cite as

Porous membrane as a means of gas and nutrient exchange in a tubular photobioreactor

  • Suvi Ojanen
  • Esa TyystjärviEmail author
  • Henrik Holmberg
  • Pekka Ahtila


In a tubular photobioreactor, a degassing column is often used for oxygen removal and carbon dioxide addition. The column may limit growth because the conditions are optimal only right after the degassing zone. In the present study, we tested continuous oxygen removal and nutrient delivery by placing a porous membrane tube inside a photobioreactor tube. The membrane tube would simultaneously remove dissolved oxygen and release nutrients and carbon dioxide to the photobioreactor tube. We tested oxygen as a model of gas exchange; nitrate and ammonium were tested as models of macronutrients and copper as a model of micronutrients. Oxygen-poor or nutrient-rich water was flowed in a dialysis tube placed inside a glass tube containing originally air-saturated water. In 60 min, the concentration of oxygen decreased by 48 % of the initial value and the nutrients reached 55–90 % of the feed flow concentration. The results suggest that integrating a porous membrane tube into the tubular photobioreactor tube can improve oxygen removal and nutrient delivery.


Tubular photobioreactor Porous membrane Diffusion Oxygen Nutrients 



This study was funded by the European Regional Development Fund (Bio Refine Tech project coordinated by Cursor Oy). ET was also supported by Academy of Finland. The authors are responsible for study design and collection and interpretation of the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Suvi Ojanen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Esa Tyystjärvi
    • 2
    Email author
  • Henrik Holmberg
    • 1
  • Pekka Ahtila
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Energy Technology, School of EngineeringAalto UniversityAaltoFinland
  2. 2.Molecular Plant Biology, Department of BiochemistryUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland

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