Potential impact of biofouling on the photobioreactors of the Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae (OMEGA) system

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Abstract

The influence of PBR composition [clear polyurethane (PolyU) vs. clear linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) (top) and black opaque high-density polyethylene (bottom)] and shape (rectangular vs. tubular) on biofouling and the influence of biofouling on algae productivity were investigated. In 9-week experiments, PBR biofouling was dominated by pennate diatoms and clear plastics developed macroalgae. LLDPE exhibited lower photosynthetic-active-radiation (PAR) light transmittance than PolyU before biofouling, but higher transmittance afterwards. Both rectangular and tubular LLDPE PBRs accumulated biofouling predominantly along their wetted edges. For a tubular LLDPE PBR after 12weeks of biofouling, the correlation between biomass, percent surface coverage, and PAR transmittance was complex, but in general biomass inversely correlated with transmittance. Wrapping segments of this biofouled LLDPE around an algae culture reduced CO2 and NH3-N utilization, indicating that external biofouling must be controlled. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

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Harris, L., Tozzi, S., Wiley, P., Young, C., Richardson, T. M. J., Clark, K., & Trent, J. D. (2013). Potential impact of biofouling on the photobioreactors of the Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae (OMEGA) system. Bioresource Technology, 144, 420–428. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biortech.2013.06.125

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