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Small Scale Photobioreactors

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:10 pm
by Mike
Some friends of mine and myself are interested in setting up a small scale photobioreactor on a rooftop on campus for the purpose of harvesting algae oil and converting it to biodiesel. I was wondering what type of procedure for harvesting algae and extracting the oil would be the best blend of low cost and simplicity of operation.

I am still learning about the processes of algae culture, and would love if you could point me in the direction of some references. It is my hope that this small scale operation could develop into a great learning oportunity for future students.

Thank You very much

Re: Small Scale Photobioreactors

PostPosted: Fri Nov 20, 2009 5:13 pm
by poorani
Mike wrote:Some friends of mine and myself are interested in setting up a small scale photobioreactor on a rooftop on campus for the purpose of harvesting algae oil and converting it to biodiesel. I was wondering what type of procedure for harvesting algae and extracting the oil would be the best blend of low cost and simplicity of operation


The choice of harvesting of algae is mainly based on the size and properties of algae. Some algae tend to flocculate when there is a change in pH of the culturing medium. If you are looking for low cost algae harvesting, you can go for harvesting by sedimentation or by filtration.

Mike wrote:I am still learning about the processes of algae culture, and would love if you could point me in the direction of some references. It is my hope that this small scale operation could develop into a great learning oportunity for future students.

In case of extraction, expeller press is the cheapest. But it will not extract 100% of the oil. There are other options available. Please refer the below links for other methods of oil extraction.

http://www.oilgae.com/algae/oil/extract/extract.html
http://www.oilgae.com/algae/oil/extract/mec/mec.html
http://www.oilgae.com/algae/oil/extract/che/che.html

Hope this helps.