Large-scale algae production in greenhouses; Modelling, technical design and economic analysis

Recently a MSc study (Besuijen, 2014) towards the design of large scale algae production systems in greenhouses has been carried out. 

The study was done in close cooperation of Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, currently operating small scale algae production systems in greenhouses at their location in Blesiwijk , and Farm Technology group of Wageningen University , with in depth expertise on agricultural systems engineering. The advantage of algae production in a greenhouse is that optimal growing conditions can be controlled with resources that are already available or easy to access. To prevent competition for light with horticultural crops, the algae production system should be placed in a separate greenhouse compartment. Analyses in literature showed that on large-scale plants a reduction in the microalgae cost price can be achieved by reducing photobioreactor equipment cost, energy use in the harvest process and developments in algal productivity. A major drawback in scaling up tubular photobioreactors however, is the accumulation of excessive dissolved oxygen produced by photosynthesis. A two-phase type of tubular photobioreactor has been proposed in literature and practice as a solution to this drawback.

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