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Growing Algae Under Artificial Illumination, Lighting

September 11th, 2006 | 7 Comments | Posted in Algae-CO2-Capture, Algae-Cultivation

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This is a theme that would have occured to most of us – why not grow algae under artificial lighting?

Well, this might not make things any simpler, or less costly…

Here’s an interesting reply from a member (Donald H Locker) at the popular oil_from_algae yahoogroup:

More significant, I think, is the fact that the use of artificial light
will require more (much more) CO2 production than is removed by the
algae. No way to avoid it.

The energy to produce electricity comes from burning the carbon to CO2.
Less electricity is produced than fuel combusted; only about 40% of
the fuel comes out as electricity. Less light is produced than
electricity consumed. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but 20% (for
fluorescent lamps) is what sticks in my mind. And less of the light is
used by the algae to remove CO2 from the stack gases. I’m hearing 3% to
10%. So for each ton of carbon fuel burned, we get 0.4 carbon-ton
equivalent of electricity, 0.08 carbon-ton equivalent of light and
0.0024 to 0.008 carbon-ton equivalent of algae growth.

Meaning it takes 1.008 tons of carbon fuel to remove 0.008 carbon-tons
equivalent of CO2. Major losses here. Artificial lighting, if the
light comes from carbon-based fuels is a non-starter.

The ONLY use of artificial light might be to keep the algae culture
alive. And I don’t think that is necessary for any of the species I
know of.


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7 Responses to “Growing Algae Under Artificial Illumination, Lighting”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I have been using LEDs (470 nm wavelength) to try to grow algae in a bioreactor, no go. I am firmly convinced that the heterotrophic approach to growing algae is the answer. It can be done indoors and requires no light. We are experimenting with filters which will filter out the CO2 and allow only oxygen in as a needed gas for their production.
    Our main concern here is to create energy independence, not CO2 sequestration.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I grow algae for a living in the Pacific Northwest. We have to use artificial lighting and in fact promote growth with a 24 hour per day light dependent cycle. Thus we must disolve CO2 into the cultures semi-continuously as needed. Artificial light will never replace natural sunlight and the amount of energy spent on electricity for lighting versus compressed CO2 is tenfold.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Does anyone have comments on this as a source of lighting?


    If you don't mind please email me some feedback at james.d.cann at gmail dot com


  4. Sales Senryaku Says:

    I am trying to grow algae at home and have had some success but feel I need more nutrients in the solution. Can anyone suggest a suitable low cost nutrient source that would not compromise the algae for human consumption. I have developed thin algae tank that sits in the window frame and is fed a regular flow of CO2 from my Rice Wine (sake) vat.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    This one is authentically looking the best of example of hydroponic gardening. And the post really discloses the best of information about how to grow Algae under artificial illumination. And the lighting concept is extremely looking interesting about it. I am really surprised to know about it. Thanks for sharing some exceptional information about it.

  6. Zane Deering Says:

    fish would be the cheepest way to get nutrients for the algae

  7. Zane Deering Says:

    i stumbels across this for i wam tirying to find out the best light wave for growing algae to clean my fish tanks water.
    what is the go whit the co2

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