Proceedings

Measurement of bubble size distribution and mass transfer rate: Using optical fibre sensors in a micro-algal photobioreactor

W.J. Nock1*, W.Z. Zhou2, Z.M. Wang2, S. Heaven1 and C.J. Banks1

1 Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton, University Road Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK 2 Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, No.2 Nengyuan Rd, Wushan, Guangzhou, 510640, China

(free)

This work utilised optical fibre sensors to measure bubble size distribution (BSD) of CO2-air bubbles in a 40-L photobioreactor as a means of enhancing the growth rate and yield of micro-algal biomass. BSD measurements were used to determine changes in volume and mass transfer rates of CO2-air bubbles. Experiments were conducted with different input CO2 concentrations throughout seven-day cultivation cycles. In comparison to tap water, increased micro-algal biomass concentrations resulted in lower detected values for the bubble size. This could be caused by the micro-algal cells affecting the liquid and bubble properties, or potential interference with the optical fibre probe, and further work is planned to clarify this.

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