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Investigations in an external-loop airlift photobioreactor with annular light chambers and swirling flow

Loubiere, Karine and Pruvost, Jérémy and Aloui, Fethi and Legrand, Jack Investigations in an external-loop airlift photobioreactor with annular light chambers and swirling flow. (2011) Chemical Engineering Research and Design, vol. 89 (n° 2). pp. 164-171. ISSN 0263-8762

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/J.CHERD.2010.06.001

Abstract

Photosynthetic microorganisms could serve as valuable compounds, but also for environmental applications. Their production under controlled conditions implies to design specific reactors, named photobioreactors, in which light supply is the main constraint. This paper was devoted to an original external-loop airlift photobioreactor (PBR) with annular light chambers in which a swirling motion was induced. The aim was to characterize this novel geometrical configuration in terms of gas–liquid hydrodynamics, and to test its potentiality for algal cultures. This PBR consisted of two identical columns connected by flanges defining tangential inlets, each column being made of two transparent concentric tubes (6 L in liquid volume, 50 m−1 in specific illuminated area). Firstly, the global flow characteristics (circulation and mixing times) were determined by a tracer method and modelled by an axial dispersed plug flow with complete recirculation (Péclet number). By means of a double optical probe, both local and global time-averaged parameters of the gas phase were measured, namely void fraction, bubble velocity, frequency and size. The gas–liquid mass transfer were also characterized, in tap water and in culture medium, by measuring overall volumetric mass transfer coefficients. In a second time, cultures of the microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were run in batch mode. The variations of biomass concentration and pigment content with time from inoculation were successfully obtained. All these findings highlighted: (i) some significant differences in terms of gas–liquid hydrodynamics between the present PBR and the usual airlift systems, (ii) the interest of this configuration for algal cultures, even if complementary studies and technological improvements are still required for definitively validating its scale-up.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Thanks to Elsevier editor. The definitive version is available at http://www.sciencedirect.com The original PDF of the article can be found at : http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0263876210001723
Audience (journal):International peer-reviewed journal
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:French research institutions > Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - CNRS
Other partners > Ecole des Mines de Nantes (FRANCE)
Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - INPT
Université de Toulouse > Université Paul Sabatier-Toulouse III - UPS
Other partners > Université de Nantes (FRANCE)
Other partners > ONIRIS (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
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Deposited By: Audrey LEFEVRE

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