Model-based prediction of perceived light flashing in Recirculated inclined wavy-bottomed photobioreactors

Giuseppe Olivieri, Monica Moroni, Marcel Janssen, Luca Piersanti, Daniela Mezza, Marco Bravi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Microalgae biomass production rate in short light-path photobioreactors potentially can be improved by mixing-induced flashing light regimes. A cascade photobioreactor features a thin liquid layer flowing down a sloping, wavy-bottomed surface where liquid flow exhibits peculiar local recirculation hydrodynamics, potentially conducive to an ordered flashing light regime. This article presents a model-based analysis of the frequency distribution of perceived irradiance in said wavybottomed photobioreactor. The model combines a Lagrangian description of the motion of individual cells, in turn derived from the hydrodynamic parameters of the photobioreactor extracted from an experimentally validated Computational Fluid Dynamic model, with a simplified description of the irradiance field across the culture thickness, down to the spectral analysis of perceived irradiance. The main finding of the work is that the wavy bottomed photobioreactor provides a ‘robust’ spectral excitation to the circulating microalgae up to 3 Hz frequency, while in flat panels and bubble columns excitation decays evenly at a 24 db/octave rate. This analysis paves the way to improving the light flashing performance of the wavy-bottomed photobioreactor with respect to geometry (cavity size and installation inclination) and operation (flow rate).

Original languageEnglish
Article number1158
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2021


  • Bubble column
  • Cascade photobioreactor
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Flashing light effects
  • Flat panel
  • Photobioreactors
  • Spectral analysis
  • Wavy-bottomed photobioreactor


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