Computational fluid dynamics modelling of stirred tank photobioreactor for Haematococcus pluvialis production: Hydrodynamics and mixing conditions

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Guler B. A. , Deniz I., Demirel Z., ÖNCEL S. Ş. , İMAMOĞLU E.

ALGAL RESEARCH-BIOMASS BIOFUELS AND BIOPRODUCTS, vol.47, 2020 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.algal.2020.101854
  • Keywords: Simulation, Computational fluid dynamics, Haematococcus pluvialis, Stirred tank photobioreactor, Mixing, SHEAR-STRESS, LAMINAR-FLOW, MICROALGAE, CULTIVATION, CULTURE


Agitated photobioreactors (PBR) have been widespread for the cultivation of microalgae because of their advantages in mixing and mass transfer conditions. However, it is difficult to investigate the behaviors of cultivation broth flow with experimental procedures in these PBRs. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a common method that has been used to simulate the performance of fluid containing systems in order to investigate the fluid flow, reduce the design cost and improve the efficiency. The objective of this study was to evaluate hydrodynamics and mixing conditions of stirred tank PBR for Haematococcus pluvialis production experimentally and numerically. The cells were first cultivated in a stirred tank PBR containing Rushton turbine impeller and the cell growth was examined during 10 days. At the end of cultivation, the cell concentration was reached the value of 3.1 +/- 0.1 x 10(5) cells mL(-1) with the total carotenoid content of 2.47 +/- 0.01 mg L-1. Then, the hydrodynamic analyses were conducted to evaluate the average velocity magnitude, turbulence properties and dead zone inside the PBR. The simulation results obtained from realizable k-epsilon turbulence model showed that the uniformity index of average velocity was found as 0.86. This result showed that the fluid flow showed similar behavior in the most parts of PBR except around the impellers. The velocity contours supported that the mixing conditions were supplied efficiently, however the vortex formation was observed around the impellers in spite of the baffles. In addition, the turbulence kinetic energy having a vital influence on mixing characteristics was found between the values of 1.0 x 10(-2) and 3.0 x 10(-2) m(2) s(-2) and the lowest values were observed between two impellers due to extent of mixing. Obtained results could be used to re-design PBR configurations considering the impeller type, the distance between impellers and cultivation conditions.