Scenario evaluation of open pond microalgae production

P.M. Slegers, M.B. Lösing, R.H. Wijffels, G. van Straten, A.J.B. van Boxtel

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89 Citations (Scopus)


To evaluate microalgae production in large scale open ponds under different climatologic conditions, a model-based framework is used to study the effect of light conditions, water temperature and reactor design on trends in algae productivity. Scenario analyses have been done for two algae species using measured weather data of the Netherlands and Algeria. The effects of temperature control, photo-inhibition and using monthly or yearly fixed biomass concentrations are estimated by a sensitivity analysis. The calculation-based results show that climate conditions such as solar irradiation and temperature dynamics play an important role in open raceway ponds. In moderate climate zones low and high temperatures over a season suppress growth. At high latitudes this effect is important as light levels vary much during the day and between seasons. Optimal biomass concentrations in ponds depend on location, pond depth and algae species. Pond design, location and algae species interact and productivity cannot be based solely on general or assumed efficiencies. It is essential to select algae species that have a suitable growth rate, light absorption coefficient and the ability to grow over a broad temperature range. The presented approach gives a framework to validate specific cultivation systems
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-368
JournalAlgal Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • life-cycle assessment
  • phaeodactylum-tricornutum
  • growth-rate
  • tubular photobioreactors
  • thalassiosira-pseudonana
  • biodiesel production
  • mass-culture
  • temperature
  • model
  • light


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