Project title: Improved continuous culturing for algal biofuels: linking chemostat and turbidostat operation and identifying opportunities for scalability
Project: This project will address a key global challenge: the production of a sustainable replacement fuel, in the form of algal biofuel. Microalgae are a promising feedstock for biofuel production due to high biomass productivity and high lipid content in the cells. Currently, most algae are grown under batch culturing conditions, though it has been shown in the past that continuous cultures can maintain a higher biomass productivity. Though this is the case there is limited research into improving the continuous culturing system and scaling it up to a level that can support an industry. This project will initially aim to improve the turbidostat system and the equipment required to run the system. This is a necessary step to increasing the productivity of the turbidostat system and will allow for increased biomass productivity potential. This knowledge will then be applied to generate a link between turbidostat and chemostat based cultures; followed by a study to understand the effects of scalability on continuous cultures.
This project will result in the design of a new system and photobioreactor, with the objective of achieving more efficient continuous culture to enhance algal biofuel prospects.