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Bioresource Technology 209 (2016) 351–359

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Bioresource Technology
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/biortech

A new technology of CO2 supplementary for microalgae cultivation


on large scale – A spraying absorption tower coupled with an outdoor
open runway pond
Chun-Dan Zhang a, Wei Li a, Yun-Hai Shi a,⇑, Yuan-Guang Li b, Jian-Ke Huang b, Hong-Xia Li a
a
Research Centre of Chemical Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China
b
State Key Laboratory of Bioreactor Engineering, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, China

h i g h l i g h t s

 A spray tower designed as a novel CO2 supply device was studied in algae cultivation.
 Chlorella pyrenoidosa can be cultivated using pure CO2 in this new method.
 Microalgae productivity, pH and CO2 consumption were investigated.
 Mean fixation ratio of CO2 by microalgae in ORWP coupled with spraying tower was 50%.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: An effective CO2 supply system of a spraying absorption tower combined with an outdoor ORWP (open
Received 4 January 2016 raceway pond) for microalgae photoautotrophic cultivation is developed in this paper. The microalgae
Received in revised form 26 February 2016 yield, productivity and CO2 fixation efficiency were investigated, and compared with those of bubbling
Accepted 1 March 2016
method. The maximum yield and productivity of biomass were achieved 0.927 g L1 and
Available online 7 March 2016
0.114 g L1 day1, respectively. The fixation efficiency of CO2 by microalgae with the spraying tower
reached 50%, whereas only 11.17% for bubbling method. Pure CO2 can be used in the spraying absorption
Keywords:
tower, and the flow rate was only about one third of the bubbling cultivation. It shows that this new
Chlorella
CO2 biological fixation
method of quantifiable control CO2 supply can meet the requirements of the growth of microalgae cul-
Spraying absorption tower tivation on large-scale.
High CO2 concentration Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction and strong adaptability to environments (Keffer and Kleinheinz,


2002).
Cultivation of microalgae on large scale, which can provide The fixation efficiency and cost of CO2 must be considered dur-
clean and renewable biofuels, has been extensively investigated ing the microalgae cultivation process. The conventional apparatus
worldwide in recent years. Microalgae usually contain about 50% of photo-autotrophic microalgae cultivation is operated with the
of carbon, which means 1.83 (calculated as 0.50 divided by the car- pipeline gas supply directly immersed into the microalgae cultiva-
bon content of CO2 molecules) tons of CO2 needed to produce one tion solution to bubble for carbon complementary (Li and Luo,
ton of microalgae through photosynthesis (Li and Luo, 2013). 2013; Morais and Costa, 2007a). This operation mode has been
Therefore, it could be a feasible method by using microalgae to given sufficient attention with simple equipment, convenient oper-
diminish emissions of concentrative CO2 exhaust gases from fossil ation, less capital and operational cost (Chiaramonti et al., 2013).
flue-fired power plants (Watanabe and Ohmura, 1992). On the However, during the process of algae cultivation, this method does
other hand, valuable products from microalgae, such as proteins, not consider low CO2 fixation efficiency and hypersensitivity of
starch, vitamins (Chae et al., 2005) could be obtained simultane- algae under the high CO2 concentration and low pH value environ-
ously through photosynthesis with high rate, fast reproduction ment (Kurano et al., 1995). The concentration of CO2 in the exhaust
gas usually reaches up to 20–30% (vol.) with high temperature (80–
150 °C) and a small amount of toxic gases, such as SOx, NOx, etc., as
⇑ Corresponding author. Tel.: +86 2164252355; fax: +86 2164252460.
well as some trace heavy metal ions, which makes it difficult to be
E-mail addresses: shi_yunhai@sina.com, shi_yunhai@ecust.edu.cn, shi_yunhai@
hotmail.com (Y.-H. Shi). directly used in conventional microalgae cultivation. Microalgae

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2016.03.007
0960-8524/Ó 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
352 C.-D. Zhang et al. / Bioresource Technology 209 (2016) 351–359

Nomenclature

vol. abbreviation of volume x experimental value


min abbreviation of minute x mean value of experiments in Eq. (7)
Ls liter of sample, L
m weight, g Subscripts
M molecular weight, g mol1 i the i experimental point
n number of experimental point inlet the inlet of the spraying tower
p average productivity, g L1 day1 outlet the outlet of the spraying tower
t the time of cultivation
V the total volume of the culture medium, L Greek alphabet
VAR.P Excel VAR.P function in Eq. (6) b CO2 absorption efficiency in Eq. (4)
ct the biomass concentration, mol/L
d root mean square error
cCO2 the concentration of carbon dioxide, mol L1 g CO2 fixation efficiency in Eq. (3)

had been screened, isolated and cultivated in order to obtain algae an embranchment of Chinese Academy of Science. 8 m3 of 15 cm
strains tolerating high CO2 concentration, as well as acid-and height of tap water which contained some inorganic salts was used
thermo-tolerance (Kurano et al., 1995; Li and Wang, 2015; Morais as the outdoor cultivation medium. The water medium was circu-
and Costa, 2007b; Sakai et al., 1995). It might be a tremendous work lated along with the two-channel open raceway ponds (abbrevi-
to screen a kind of suitable microalgae from thousands of microal- ated as ORWP) by paddlewheels under natural conditions. The
gae strains. On the other hand, the question of how to improve the size of the channel raceway ponds is 16.1 m long, 1.6 m wide
fixation efficiency of carbon dioxide, especially in open raceway and 0.53 m deep. The initial biomass concentration ranged from
ponds (abbreviated as ORWPs) breeding manner, should be consid- 0.2 g L1 to 0.3 g L1.
ered (Cheng et al., 2013; Li and Luo, 2013). In fact, the open-culture
systems cannot normally make effective use of the supplied CO2, 2.2. Experimental apparatus and operation method
because of easily escaping from the culture broth due to the limited
depth of liquid layer, short retention time and limited interfacial A spraying tower with 1.8 m height, 0.8 m diameter and two
area of contact. And the maximum fixation efficiency of CO2 ranged spray nozzles on the top was shown in Fig. 1(a). The tower was
from 10% to 30% (Becker, 1994; Weissman and Goebel, 1985). An used to absorb CO2, and combined with ORWP (1) to provide a car-
airlifted-driven raceway reactor was designed by Ketheesan and bon source for microalgae photoautotrophic cultivation on large-
Nirmalakhandan (2012) for microalgae cultivation with the maxi- scale. The main part of the tower is self-made in poly-methyl acry-
mum CO2 fixation efficiency of 33%. A carbonation column in con- late (PMMA), a kind of visual material. The whole tower with its
junction with open ponds was designed by Putt et al. (2011) to accessories including pumps, switch box, valves and pipelines,
investigate the absorption efficiency of CO2. A closed multi-stage et al. was amounted on a removable steel stainless platform. The
sequential photo-bioreactor also improved CO2 fixation efficiency platform was easily operated, provided that it was powered on
to 85.6% under the concentration of 15% (vol.) CO2 by Cheng et al. and well connected with inlet and outlet pipes. A running state
(2013). A closed raceway pond was rebuilt from a normal open of the platform device was shown in Fig. 1(b).
raceway pond covered with specially designed transparent cover- During the operation process, pure CO2 (purity P99%) flowed
plates by Li and Luo (2013). The CO2 fixation efficiency increased from a cylinder (16) and entered into the bottom of the spraying
to 95% under the condition of intermittent gas sparging. tower through a T-shaped gas distributor (10). A small proportion
According to the discipline of interphase mass transfer (Seader of culture medium with a liquid flow rate about 0.51 m3 h1 (only
and Ernest, 1998), the overall mass transfer resistance of CO2 trans- account for 6.38% of the total cultivation medium) was suctioned
port is mainly controlled by resistance from the liquid film. It takes by diaphragm pumps (3) (model Y2-80M2-4, made by Shanghai
measures to decrease the diameter of liquid drops and thickness of Zhongqiu Pump and Valve Co., Ltd., China) and nebulized by
the liquid films, and increase turbulence of liquid phase. All of atomizing nozzles (7) on the top of the spraying tower. The
these measures are beneficial for increasing the overall mass trans- atomization droplets were in continuous counter flow with the
fer coefficient (Carvalho et al., 2006). Based on the Henry’s Law and up current of CO2, which increased the interfacial areas of gas–
theory of electrolyte solution, the higher the CO2 partial pressure liquid phase and the turbulence of the liquid phase. The absorbed
is, the more CO2 is absorbed, thus more carbonate ions is produced CO2 immediately flowed back via outlet pipe (11) and mixed with
with the lower pH (Luo et al., 2015; Kurano et al., 1995). For the the main microalgae culture medium of ORWP to achieve CO2
reasons of the microalgae strains’ tolerance, low CO2 fixation effi- complementary. Paddle wheel (2) was used for mixing and stir-
ciency and high operation cost, the methods mentioned in litera- ring the culture medium in the ORWPs. A pressure gauge (4)
ture were unachievable to directly scale up by using the exhaust was connected with the outlet pipe to determine the liquid pres-
emission as the source of supply CO2. In this work, a new-type sure of the diaphragm pump. The flow rate of culture medium
CO2 supply method and apparatus was presented to achieve (L min1) could be adjusted by a globe value (5) and recorded
microalgae cultivation on large scale with high concentration from by a cumulative flow meter (6) (made in Suzhou Water Meter
20% (vol.) to pure CO2. Co., Ltd., China). The flow rate (L min1) of CO2 was determined
by a rotameter (14) (Model LZB-6WB, Changzhou Double Thermal
2. Materials and experimental method Instrument and Meter Co., Ltd., China). Values of pH of the
microalgae culture medium located at the position of the inlet
2.1. Materials and outlet pipe of the spraying tower were measured by an
online pH-meter (Model pH-1186, Shanghai Lianxiang Environ-
The strain Chlorella pyrenoidosa (FACHB 9) was used in this mental Protection Technology Co., Ltd., China). The electricity
work, which was obtained from Wu Han Institute of Hydrobiology, consumption was measured by an energy meter (Model
C.-D. Zhang et al. / Bioresource Technology 209 (2016) 351–359 353

Fig. 1a. Flow chart of a spraying tower used for CO2 supplementary in microalgae cultivation.

the spraying absorption tower were recorded every of 2 h during


the experiment period.

2.3. Contrast experiment

The method of evaluating this new apparatus is to cultivate


microalgae in ORWPs via two different CO2 supply ways,
which is conventional process (bubbling, denoted as ORWP-A
mode) and new process (spraying absorption, denoted as ORWP-B
mode).
In ORWP-A mode, carbon source was continuously aerated into
the microalgae medium through sintered porous pipes placed at
the bottom of the pond with concentration of 2–10% vol. CO2-air
mixture to control the pH value in an appropriate range (6.5–
8.5). In ORWP-B mode, the flow chart of which is shown in Fig. 1
(a) described above. Pure CO2 was used because of the short
gas–liquid contact time (within tens of second). The biomass
concentration, productivity, pH values, CO2 flow rate (CO2
consumption) and CO2 fixation efficiency were investigated for
the new spraying process, ORWP-B mode and compared with
that of conventional bubbling process, ORWP-A mode. The experi-
ments were undertaken during the time of September 2014 to
November 2014 under the natural conditions of the air tempera-
ture, the temperature of microalgae medium, light intensity, the
atmosphere pressure and natural wind speed, etc. The average
light intensity varied from 6 Klux to 93.3 Klux and the liquid
medium temperature changed from 16.7 °C to 28.9 °C. And the
other weather data of Jiaxing City in Zhejiang province during
the experimental time in year 2014 can be consulted from the
internet reported history data.

2.4. Analysis methods


Fig. 1b. Photograph of a running state of the spraying absorption tower.

2.4.1. Biomass concentration and average productivity


DTS901, Shanghai People Enterprise (Group) Co., Ltd., China). Dur- Optical density measurement and difference methods (Lee and
ing the period of experimental day time, the inlet and outlet pH Shen, 2004) are two main methods for determining the microalgae
values, inlet flow rate of culture medium and CO2 flow rate for yield. In this work, the difference method was adopted.
354 C.-D. Zhang et al. / Bioresource Technology 209 (2016) 351–359

The biomass concentration is determined by weight method conditions. The pH value change, flow rate of CO2 consumption,
and calculated by Eq. (1). biomass concentration and productivity of microalgae, efficiency
m2  m1 of CO2 fixation are used as the criteria to assess the two CO2 sup-
Ct ¼ ð1Þ
Ls plying facilities. Additionally, absorption efficiency of CO2 and
The average productivity is calculated from the variation in bio- energy consumption of the spraying absorption tower were also
mass concentration by Eq. (2) (developed by Ketheesan and evaluated, which indicated that this is an actual feasible scheme
Nirmalakhandan, 2012). of microalgae cultivation on large-scale or not.
Ct  C0
p¼ ð2Þ 3.1. Biomass concentration and productivity of microalgae, pH and
t  t0
CO2 flow rate
In Eqs. (1) and (2), C0 is initial biomass concentration at time t0
(seeding biomass concentration); Ct is referred to biomass concen- The relationship of biomass concentration and productivity
tration at time t (17:30 each day), g L1; m1 is the weight of empty with cultivation days for the two batches microalgae breeding
weighing bottle, g; m2 is the weight of weighting bottle with were shown in Fig. 2(a) and (b).
microalgae, g; Ls is the volume of sampling, L; p is the average pro- As shown in Fig. 2(a-1) and (b-1), the biomass concentrations of
ductivity of microalgae, g L1 day1. microalgae cultivation in ORWP-B mode were almost greater than
that of ORWP-A mode for the two experimental batches. Under the
2.4.2. CO2 fixation efficiency of microalgae same identical experiment conditions, the maximum biomass con-
In order to assess the effectiveness of the CO2 supplying system, centration was 0.927 g L1 (the 8th day) for the first batch, and
CO2 fixation efficiency determined from the CO2 consumption rate 0.4809 g L1 (the 5th day) for the second batch with ORWP-B
by algal culture is more appropriate than that from the actual CO2 mode; but only 0.7867 g L1 (the 7th day) and 0.3545 g L1 (the
supplying rate (Ketheesan and Nirmalakhandan, 2012). In this 4th day) were obtained for the corresponding two batches with
work, the fixation efficiency is calculated by Eq. (3) (Morais and ORWP-A mode. The variation trend of the biomass concentration
Costa, 2007a). increased with cultivation days from the beginning to the 8th
p  mcbm  V  ðM CO2 =M 1
C Þ
day for the first batch, and then decreased after this day. From
g¼  100% ð3Þ the view point of microalgae breeding, the microalgae should be
mCO2
harvested in this day.
where g is the efficiency of CO2 fixation by microalgae, p is the aver-
The calculated average productivity of microalgae with ORWP-
age productivity of microalgae each day, g L1 day1, mcbm is the
A mode and ORWP-B mode were shown in Fig. 2(a-2) and (b-2),
fraction of carbon in the biomass and equates to 0.5 g g1 (Li and
respectively. Unlike the variations of biomass concentration curve,
Luo, 2013); V is the total volume of the culture medium, 8000 L;
the average productivity increased relatively large at the first two
MCO2 and MC are molar mass of carbon dioxide and carbon, respec-
days, maintained nearly unchanged till to the maximum value; and
tively; and mCO2 is the total mass flow of CO2 supply each day, then decreased afterwards. The maximum productivity appeared
g day1. at values of 0.1144 g L1 day1 and 0.0622 g L1 day1 for the
two batches with ORWP-B mode; and only of 0.081 g L1 day1
2.4.3. CO2 absorption efficiency of the spraying absorption tower and 0.0581 g L1 day1 with ORWP-A mode. The different results
The efficiency of CO2 fixation by microalgae is highly relative to of the two batches were due to the different growing circumstance.
CO2 absorption efficiency of the spraying absorption tower. During the first batch of microalgae cultivation days, it was always
Besides, absorption efficiency of CO2 is an important parameter in warm sunshine. But for the second batch, it was sometimes in
in the design and operation of the spraying tower. The absorption chilly rainy days.
efficiency b is calculated by Eq. (4). Ordinarily, the shear action of nozzles may be strongly harmful
DcCO2  Lc  V m to microalgae. As is seen from of Fig. 3, the result of C. pyrenoidosa
b¼  100% ð4Þ
V in  V out cultivation with ORWP-B mode is better than that of ORWP-A
where DcCO2 is the concentration difference of CO2 of inlet and out- mode. That is to say, the CO2 supply system with a spraying tower
let of the spraying absorption tower (so-called the content of CO2 is suitable for C. pyrenoidosa cultivation.
absorbed), mol L1, and calculated by Eq. (5); Lc is the volume flow The compared biomass concentration and productivity of C.
rate of the culture medium injected into the spraying absorption pyrenoidosa cultivation in this work with the results reported in lit-
tower, L min1; Vin and Vout are inlet and outlet flow rates of CO2 eratures is listed in Table 1. Under the condition of (6–12)% (vol.)
into the spraying tower, respectively, L min1; Vm is the molar vol- CO2 as a carbon complementary, the maximum biomass concen-
ume of CO2 at experimental temperature. tration of (0.98–1.14)g L1 for Chlorella Kessleri in a 1.8 L conical
The concentration of CO2 in the liquid culture medium (includ- flash photo-bioreactor (PBR) was obtained (Morais and Costa,
ing different form of CO2 in solution) was quantified by measuring 2007b). A maximum productivity of 0.515 g L1 day1 for Chlorella
chemical deposition with barium chloride and sodium hydroxide. sp. MTF-15 was achieved in a cylindrical acrylic polymer column of
Then, the concentration of CO2 absorbed is calculated by 1 L with (23–27)% (vol.) CO2 as a carbon source (Kao et al., 2014).
moutlet;CO2  minlet;CO2 The maximum biomass concentration and average productivity
DcCO2 ¼ ð5Þ of 0.927 g L1 and 0.114 g L1 day1 for C. pyrenoidosa were gained
M BaCO3  Ls
with ORWP-B mode under the condition of pure CO2 as a carbon
where moutlet;CO2 and minlet;CO2 are CO2 content in outlet and inlet of complementary, in which are lower than those listed in Table 1.
spraying absorption tower, g; Ls is sample volume, L; M BaCO3 is molar However, results reported by the International Energy Agency
mass of barium carbonate, 197.34 g mol1. (2011) showed that most high levels of sustained productivity
for microalgae cultivation in an open pond were in the range of
3. Results and discussion 15–40 g m2 day1 (already converted to be 0.05–0.133 g L1
day1 in 0.3 m depth of ORWPs). Cultivation of microalgae on large
Cultivation of two batches for C. pyrenoidosa with the ORWP-A scale is mostly constrained by the low ratio of contacting area of
mode and ORWP-B mode was undertaken to compare the new gas–liquid two-phase to volume of RWP. Therefore, the productiv-
method with conventional method under the same experimental ity of per unit volume is also reduced (Chiaramonti et al., 2013).
C.-D. Zhang et al. / Bioresource Technology 209 (2016) 351–359 355

Fig. 2. The relationship of biomass concentration and productivity with cultivation days for two batches microalgae cultivation with ORWP-A and ORWP-B modes. (a) The
first batch of microalgae cultivation; (b) the second batch of microalgae cultivation.

Based on the viewpoint of scale-up effect and high CO2 concentra- speed, etc can’t be artificially controlled outdoors in this work.
tion as the carbon complementary, the biomass concentration and Variations of pH value with cultivation days for C. pyrenoidosa by
productivity in this work is acceptable. Compared with the results ORWP-A mode and ORWP-B mode were shown in Fig. 3
obtained by Cheng et al. (2015), the maximum productivity of Nan- (a) and (b). The variations of pH value for both ORWP-A mode
nochloropsis oculata cultivation was 0.097 g L1 day1 by using real and ORWP-B mode were all in range from 6.5 to 8.5, which is suit-
flue gas as the carbon complementary. able for the microalgae growth. The variance analysis for pH value
Unlike the previous study concerning CO2-supply (Putt et al., by VAR.P function with Microsoft Excel software was calculated
2011), the pH value of microalgae broth could be controlled within by:
a certain range. While, it is difficult to control the pH steadily at a
ðx1  xÞ2 þ ðx2  xÞ2 þ ::: þ ðxn  xÞ2
certain value because the cultivation conditions, such as light VAR:Pðx1 ; x2 ; :::; xn Þ ¼ ð6Þ
intensity, temperature, atmosphere pressure, and natural wind n
356 C.-D. Zhang et al. / Bioresource Technology 209 (2016) 351–359

tion d is defined as the square root of VAR.P function. The results


of variance analysis for pH value shown in Fig. 3(a) and (b) were
listed in Table 2. The calculated value of VAR.P function for the
two batches cultivation with ORWP-B mode was both 0.06, which
was less than 0.10 and 0.07 with ORWP-A mode for the correspond-
ing two batches. This meant that the cultivation of microalgae with
ORWP-B mode is more suitable on large scale under the condition of
the growing circumstance with a relative stable pH value.
Relationship of average CO2 flow rates with cultivation days for
ORWP-A mode and ORWP-B mode was shown in Fig. 4(a) and (b).
As is seen from Fig. 4(a) and (b), the average CO2 flow rate used in
the ORWP-B mode was 2.62 L min1 for the first batch, and
2.63 L min1 for the second batch; while 9.39 L min1 and
7.0 L min1 (counted in pure CO2) of CO2 flow rate were requested
in ORWP-A mode for the corresponding two batch cultivation,
respectively. Therefore, under the same identical experiment con-
ditions, the average CO2 flow rate of ORWP-B mode was less than
nearly three times of ORWP-A mode. The results of variance anal-
ysis for CO2 flow rate were listed in Table 3. The calculated values
of VAR.P function for the first and the second batch cultivation
with ORWP-B mode were 0.24 and 0.38, which were all less than
6.35 and 10.15 with ORWP-A cultivation mode for the correspond-
ing two batches. Additionally, the steady CO2 gas supply is benefi-
cial for operated with automatic control instrument on large-scale
cultivation of microalgae with ORWP-B mode.

3.2. Average efficiency of CO2 fixation by microalgae

Comparisons of the calculated average efficiency of CO2 fixation


in this work with the result estimated from literatures was listed in
Table 4. It can be seen from Table 4, the average fixation efficiency
of CO2 for ORWP-B mode was 50.0%, which was obviously higher
than 11.17% for ORWP-A mode. The influence of factors on CO2 fix-
ation efficiency is very complicated, which includes CO2 supplying
system, CO2 concentration, microalgae strains, photo bioreactor
(PBR) and uncontrolled natural conditions (light, temperature)
and so on.
By using a closed raceway pond with a transparent cover and
intermittent gas sparging, the maximum CO2 fixation of Chlorella
vulgaris cultivation might be 95% (Li and Luo, 2013). The highest
CO2 fixation efficiency can be 85.6% by using a multi-stage sequen-
tial bioreactor for Chlorella PY-ZUI cultivation (Cheng et al., 2013).
Fig. 3. Variations of pH value with cultivation days for Chlorella pyrenoidosa by
ORWP-A and ORWP-B modes. (a) The first batch of microalgae cultivation; (b) the
Two main methods of increasing CO2 fixation efficiency are reduc-
second batch of microalgae cultivation. tion of the gas bubble diameter size (Kao et al., 2014) and increase
of the retention time (Morais and Costa, 2007a). However, the
x1 þ x2 þ ::: þ xn method of increasing CO2 concentration was restricted by the
x ¼ ð7Þ
n acidic endurance capability of microalgae strains. Besides, high
energy consumption is ordinary required to reduce gas bubble
where xi (i = 1, 2, . . ., n) is the experimental value at the point i. 
x is diameter. Although the various types of experimental photo-
the mean value of the experiments. The root-mean-square devia- bioreactors (PBRs) studied in Table 4 may have high CO2 fixation

Table 1
Comparison of biomass concentration and productivity in algae cultivation systems: literature reported vs. this work.

References Species of algae Cultivation apparatus Culture medium Vol.% in air ct,max (dry paver.,max/
volume/L base)/g L1 g L1 d1
Ketheesan and Scenedesmus sp. Airlift-raceway 23 1 1.43 0.085
Nirmalakhandan (2012)
Morais and Costa (2007b) Chlorella kessleri Conical flask photo-bioreactor 1.8 6 0.98 0.087
Scenedesmus obliquus Conical flask photo-bioreactor 12 1.14 0.076
Li and Luo (2013) Chlorella vulgaris Closed raceway 12 15 – 0.350
pond/continuous operation
Kao et al. (2014) Chlorella sp. MTF-15 Column-type glass fabricated 1 23–27, flue gas from 2.523 0.515
photobioreactor coke oven
Cheng et al. (2015) Nannochloropsisoculata Open raceway pond 3.1  105 Flue gas – 0.1015
Chiu et al. (2008) Chlorella sp. Cylindrical glass reactor 0.8 2 1.445 0.422
This study (ORWP-B) Chlorella pyrenoidosa ORWP-spray absorption tower 8000 Purity P99.5 0.927 0.114
This study (ORWP A) Chlorella pyrenoidosa ORWP-spray absorption tower 8000 5–10 0.787 0.081
C.-D. Zhang et al. / Bioresource Technology 209 (2016) 351–359 357

Table 2 Table 3
Variance analysis of pH value for ORWP-A and ORWP-B modes. Variance analysis of CO2 flow rate of ORWP-A and ORWP-B modes.

ORWP Batch (a)a Batch (b)b ORWP Batch (a)a Batch (b)b
mode mode
Max Min Average VAR.P Max Min Average VAR.P Max Min Average VAR.P Max Min Average VAR.P
A 8.46 6.80 7.25 0.10 7.80 6.65 7.14 0.07 A 14.0 3.5 9.39 6.35 15.0 3.0 7.00 10.15
B 7.83 6.88 7.25 0.06 8.09 6.95 7.29 0.06 B 4.0 2.0 2.63 0.24 4.0 2.0 2.62 0.38
a a
Experimental batch (a), the initial concentration of algae: both ORWP-A and Experimental batch (a), the initial concentration of algae: both ORWP-A and
ORWP-B are 0.22 g L1; light intensity: 6–93.3 Klux, average: 41.7 Klux; tempera- ORWP-B are 0.22 g L1; light intensity: 6–93.3 Klux, average: 41.7 Klux; tempera-
ture: 16.7–28.9 °C, average: 23.6 °C; circulation flow of culture medium: 4.31– ture: 16.7–28.9 °C, average: 23.6 °C; circulation flow of culture medium: 4.31–
19.02 L min1, average: 8.22 L min1. 19.02 L min1, average: 8.22 L min1.
b b
Experimental batch (b), the initial concentration of algae: both ORWP-A and Experimental batch (b), the initial concentration of algae: both ORWP-A and
ORWP-B are 0.2 g L1; light intensity: 11.2–89 Klux, average: 48.41 Klux; temper- ORWP-B are 0.2 g L1; light intensity: 11.2–89 Klux, average: 48.41 Klux; temper-
ature: 17.9–28 °C, average: 23.8 °C; circulation flow of culture medium: 5.89– ature: 17.9–28 °C, average: 23.8 °C; circulation flow of culture medium: 5.89–
14.51 L min1, average: 8.95 L min1. 14.51 L min1, average: 8.95 L min1.

3.3. CO2 absorption efficiency of the spraying tower

The relationship between CO2 concentration in the inlet and


outlet algae solution of the spray tower, as well as absorbed CO2
content for the two batches cultivation with time was shown in
Fig. 5(a) and (b). And accordingly, the CO2 absorption efficiency
of the spraying tower calculated by Eq. (4) was depicted in Fig. 6
(a) and (b).
As is seen from Fig. 5(a) and (b), CO2 concentration in the out-
let algae solution (Dcoutlet; CO2 ) of the spraying tower for the two cul-
tivation batches was in the range from 0.018 mol L1 to
0.019 mol L1; while the CO2 concentration in the inlet algae solu-
tion (Dcinlet; CO2 ) of the tower slowly increased with the cultivation
days. Consequently, the curve of the absorbed CO2 concentration
(DcCO2 ) calculated from Eq. (5) decreased gradually with the culti-
vation days.
As shown in Fig. 6(a) and (b), the absorption efficiency of the
spraying tower fluctuated within a definite range, and the average
absorption efficiency of the spraying tower was 77.50% and 73.71%
for the two batches, respectively. The CO2 absorption efficiency is
closely connected with the quantity of circulating algae solution.
Larger quantity of circulating algae solution might lead to form
bigger liquid droplets and lessen gas–liquid contacting areas. As
a result, the CO2 absorption efficiency decreases rapidly. While,
in this work, under the conditions of the circulating algae solution
flow rate ranged from 4.31 L min1 to 19.02 L min1, there was no
significant effect on the CO2 absorption efficiency.
Ordinarily, there is a phenomenon that pH of culture medium
increases gradually with microalgae growing. The reason might
be that microalgae growth consumes a great amount of anions in
culture medium, such as NO  2
3 and H2PO4 , HPO4 to form biomass.
Thus, the dissolved CO2 must convert to its anions form, such as
HCO 2
3 and CO3 , to keep ionic balance with cations (like Na ,
+

et al.). The culture medium will be alkalized with too much anionic
CO23 . An excessive amount of CO2 must be introduced into the
spraying tower to control the pH value. Otherwise, algal cells are
much more likely injured in a high pH culture medium.

Fig. 4. Relationship of average CO2 flow rates with cultivation days for both ORWP- 3.4. Energy consumption of the spraying absorption tower
A and ORWP-B modes. (a) The first batch of microalgae cultivation; (b) the second
batch of microalgae cultivation. Capital cost and operating charges are the two indexes to eval-
uate the microalgae cultivation process feasibility and economics
(Chiaramonti et al., 2013). Captial cost refers to the all equipment
efficiency, it is actually very difficult to enlarge on industrial scale. value. And the operating charges main include the cost of CO2 and
In this work, a spraying absorption tower designed for C. pyrenoi- electricity consumption. The consumption of CO2 was compared
dosa cultivation on large-scale provided a different way with high above for the two cultivation modes. And in this part, power con-
CO2 fixation efficiency, where a little microalgae culture broth sumed by the two diaphragm pumps for transporting a proportion
required is dispersed in pure CO2 gas supply flow at a very short of culture medium into the spraying absorption tower was only
time. evaluated. Based on the original record of experiment data, the
358 C.-D. Zhang et al. / Bioresource Technology 209 (2016) 351–359

Table 4
Comparison of CO2 fixation efficiencies in algae cultivation systems: literature reported vs. this work.

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