Design of a novel flat-plate photobioreactor system for green algal hydrogen production

Publisher:
Elsevier Ltd.
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2011, 36 (11), pp. 6578 - 6591
Issue Date:
2011-01
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Some green microalgae have the ability to harness sunlight to photosynthetically produce molecular hydrogen from water. This renewable, carbon-neutral process has the additional benefit of sequestering carbon dioxide and accumulating biomass during the algal growth phase. We document the details of a novel one-litre vertical flat-plate photobioreactor that has been designed to facilitate green algal hydrogen production at the laboratory scale. Coherent, non-heating illumination is provided by a panel of cool-white light-emitting diodes. The reactor body consists of two compartments constructed from transparent polymethyl methacrylate sheets. The primary compartment holds the algal culture, which is agitated by means of a recirculating gas-lift. The secondary compartment is used to control the temperature of the system and the wavelength of radiation. The reactor is fitted with probe sensors that monitor the pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and optical thickness of the algal culture. A membrane-inlet mass spectrometry system has been developed and incorporated into the reactor for dissolved hydrogen measurement and collection. The reactor is hydrogen-tight, modular and fully autoclaveable.
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