Chapter 3 - Algae Cultivation Report

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Algae cultivation is an environmentally friendly process for the production of organic material by photosynthesis from carbon dioxide, light energy and water. Culturing algae requires the input of light as an energy source for photosynthesis and a sufficient supply of nutrients in dissolved form in the culture medium. In particular, these are: carbon in the form of CO2, water, nitrogen, phosphate and other nutrients including sulphur, potassium, magnesium and trace elements. This chapter deals with the various cultivation techniques and the requirement for cultivating algae in the lab scale.

List of Contents

  • Introduction & Concepts
  • Algaculture
    • Algae Monoculture
    • Photosynthetic Cultures
    • Mixotrophic Cultivation of Microalgae
    • Batch Culture
    • Semi-continuous Culture
    • Factors that Determine Algal Growth Rate
    • Temperature
    • Light
    • Nutrients
    • Approximate nutrients required to produce 1 ton dry algae mass
    • World Map Indicating the Direct Normal Solar Irradiation
  • Algae Cultivation in Various Scales
    • Algae Cultivation in Lab Scale
      • Isolation of Algae
      • Cultivation in Lab Scale
      • Biochemical Analysis of Algal Samples
    • Algae Cultivation on Commercial Scale
      • Comparison of Open Pond and Photobioreactor
      • Which is the Best Way to Grow Algae - Ponds or Photobioreactors?
  • Different Methods of Cultivation
  • Algae Cultivation – Factoids
  • Worldwide Locations with Algae Farms & Algae Cultivation
  • Algae Cultivation Challenges
    • Challenges in Cultivation
    • Challenge: Growth Rate of Algae
    • Challenge: Formulation of Medium
    • Challenge: Provision of CO2
    • Challenge: Water Circulation in Ponds
    • Challenge: Photosynthesis or Fermentation
    • Challenge: Land Requirements
    • Scaling Up Challenges
    • Ongoing Research for Other Challenges in Algae Cultivation
  • Research & Publications
  • Reference

Key Takeaways from the chapter

  1. Cultivating algae for fuel is an area where significant experimentation and research are still required.
    • Algae can be cultivated as a monoculture or mixotropic cultivation, as well as in batch or continuous process.
    • Two main methods of algae cultivation in commercial scale are: ponds which could comprise open or closed ponds, and closed photobioreactor systems. Open ponds are more economical than photobioreactors, but photobioreactors provide much higher control of the environment and thus higher yields than open ponds.
    • The lab-scale algal culture facility is a vital part of all mass cultivation efforts.
  2. The NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA), in its Aquatic Species Program favoured unlined “raceway” ponds which were stirred using a paddle wheel, and had carbon dioxide bubbled through it.
  3. Ensuring high yield, providing optimal light penetration and aerating cost effectively are some of the key challenges in cultivation.

List of Tables

  1. Suggested Non-carbonEnrichment (mL/L)
  2. Continuous culture methods for various types of algae in 40L internally-illuminated vessels (suitable for flagellates only) (modified from Laing, 1991)
  3. Dunaliella sp. Culture Medium
  4. Open Ponds Vs Closed Bioreactors
  5. Companies Using Ponds & PBRs
  6. Comparison of Large Scale Systems for Growing Algae
  7. Prominent Spirulina Farms around the World
  8. Fertilizers for Marine Algae
  9. A Generalized Set of Conditions for Culturing Micro-Algae
  10. Medium Composition
  11. Chu 13
  12. Johnson’s medium
  13. Bold basal medium
  14. F/2 medium
  15. Benecke’s medium
  16. Medium for Spirulina
  17. PES medium
  18. Fogg’s nitrogen free medium (Fogg, 1949)
  19. Modified NORO medium
  20. BG 11 medium
  21. C medium
  22. Artificial sea water medium (ASW)

List of figures

  1. World Map Indicating the Direct Normal Solar Irradiation
  2. Serial dilution
  3. Production scheme for batch culture of algae (Lee and Tamaru, 1993)
  4. Diagram of a continuous culture apparatus

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Last Updated : Dec 2011

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