Flat-plate photobioreactors have received much attention for cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms due to their large illumination surface area. The work presented by Milner (1953) paved way to the use of flat culture vessels for cultivation of algae. Following this work, Samson and Leduy (1985) developed a flat reactor equipped with fluorescence lamps. A year later, Ramos de Ortega and Roux (1986) developed an outdoor flat panel reactor by using thick transparent PVC materials. As time went on, extensive works on various designs of vertical alveolar panels and flat plate reactors for mass cultivation of different algae were reported (Tredici and Materassi, 1992; Hu et al., 1996; Zhang et al., 2002; Hoekema et al., 2002).
Generally, flat-plate photobioreactors are made of transparent materials for maximum utilization of solar light energy. Accumulation of dissolved oxygen concentrations in flat-plate photobioreactors is relatively low compared to horizontal tubular photobioreactors. It has been reported that with flat-plate photobioreactors, high photosynthetic efficiencies can be achieved (Hu et al., 1996; Richmond, 2000). Flat-plate photobioreactors are very suitable for mass cultures of algae.Prospects
- Large illumination surface area
- Suitable for outdoor cultures
- Good for immobilization of algae
- Good light path
- Good biomass productivities
- Relatively cheap
- Easy to clean up
- Readily tempered
- Low oxygen buildup.
- Scale-up require many compartments and support materials
- Difficulty in controlling culture temperature
- Some degree of wall growth
- Possibility of hydrodynamic stress to some algal strains.