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Design and construction of agitated photobioreactor airlift for biodiesel production

Grant number: 10/04903-7
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: September 01, 2010 - February 28, 2013
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal Investigator:Rubens Maciel Filho
Grantee:Rubens Maciel Filho
Host Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated researchers:Betânia Hoss Lunelli ; Maria Regina Wolf Maciel ; Sergio Santos de Jesus


Continued use of petroleum sourced fuels is now widely recognized as unsustainable because of depleting supplies and the contribution of these fuels to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the environment. Biodiesel from oil crops and bioethanol from sugarcane are being produced in increasing amounts as renewable biofuels, but their production in large quantities is not sustainable. Many microalgae are exceedingly rich in oil, which can be converted to biodiesel using existing technology. Producing microalgal biodiesel requires large quantities of algal biomass. Microalgae can be grown on a large scale in photobioreactors. Many different designs of photobioreactors have been developed, but a tubular photobioreactor seems to be most satisfactory for producing algal biomass on the scale needed for biofuel production. The biodiesel productions in tubular photobioreactors that circulate the culture by using an airlift device are especially attractive for several reasons: circulation is achieved without moving parts and this provides a robust culture system with a reduced potential for contamination. Bioreators are used in all kinds of bioprocess, including those for making vaccines, antibiotics, amino acids, and many other high-value products such as the carotenoids and also in the biodiesel production. The aim of the work is the design and construction of a mechanically agitated photobioreactor airlift and hydrocarbon (biodiesel) production through the microalgae Botryococcus braunii. The studies of the fermentation will carried out in a laboratory scale in an stirred photobiorreactor airlift designed and constructed in this work, the B. braunii microalgae and sea water will used. The bioreactor designed will the glass and internal recirculation (a concentric draft-tube airlift vessel device) in its exterior with fluorescent lamps which can be operated at a gradient of light intensity. An experimental design will used to evaluate the best conditions of process, where the influence of the salt concentration, agitation, intensity of light and flow rate of the CO2 will investigate. The biomass is analyzed concerning by hydrocarbon, biodiesel production, carotenoids, proteins and lipids. Future studies in this reactor can be used for the production of other high-value products such as antibiotics, retro-viral and amino acids. (AU)

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Scientific publications (4)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DE JESUS, SERGIO S.; MACIEL FILHO, RUBENS. Potential of algal biofuel production in a hybrid photobioreactor. Chemical Engineering Science, v. 171, p. 282-292, . (08/57873-8, 10/04903-7, 10/03764-3)
DE JESUS, SERGIO S.; MOREIRA NETO, JOAO; SANTANA, ALINE; MACIEL FILHO, RUBENS. Influence of impeller type on hydrodynamics and gas-liquid mass-transfer in stirred airlift bioreactor. AICHE JOURNAL, v. 61, n. 10, p. 3159-3171, . (08/57873-8, 10/04903-7, 10/03764-3)
DE JESUS, SERGIO S.; SANTANA, ALINE; PONCE, GUSTAVO H. S. F.; MACIEL FILHO, RUBENS. Potential use of vegetable waste for biofuel production. JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL TECHNOLOGY AND BIOTECHNOLOGY, v. 92, n. 1, p. 90-99, . (08/57873-8, 10/04903-7, 10/03764-3)
DE JESUS, SERGIO S.; NETO, JOAO MOREIRA; MACIEL FILHO, RUBENS. Hydrodynamics and mass transfer in bubble column, conventional airlift, stirred airlift and stirred tank bioreactors, using viscous fluid: A comparative study. Biochemical Engineering Journal, v. 118, p. 70-81, . (08/57873-8, 10/04903-7, 10/03764-3)

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