Twisted tubular photobioreactor fluid dynamics evaluation for energy consumption minimization

C.A. Gómez-Pérez, J.J. Espinosa Oviedo, L.C. Montenegro Ruiz, A.J.B. van Boxtel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


This paper discusses a new tubular PhotoBioReactor (PBR) called twisted tubular PBR. The geometry of a twisted tubular PBR induces swirl mixing to guarantee good exposure of microalgae to Light-Dark (LD) cycles and to the nutrients and dissolved CO 2 . The paper analyses the energy uptake for fluid transport through the twisted tubular PBR. The analysis is based on a comparison between the twisted tubular PBR and other tubular PBRs that have swirl mixing generation. Four types of tubular PBRs are simulated using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD); these results are used to evaluate energy consumption and mixing conditions. Swirl number is used to evaluate mixing conditions and swirl flow. On the other hand, microalgae particles performing undulatory motion are evaluated with Discrete Fourier Transform (DFT). Characteristics of the microalgae frequency in the swirl mixing depend on average flow velocity. Results show that the new twisted tubular PBR demands less energy for pumping than the other tubular PBRs that have swirl motion; providing an important step towards the construction of a highly efficient tubular PBR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-72
JournalAlgal Research
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • CFD
  • Energy savings
  • Light dark cycles
  • Swirl flow
  • Tubular photobioreactors

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