P19.07 The Solix AGS system a low-cost photobioreactor system for by broverya77


									  Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions                                     IOP Publishing
  IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science 6 (2009) 192015        doi:10.1088/1755-1307/6/9/192015
The Solix AGS system: a low-cost photobioreactor system for production of biofuels from microalgae
Bryan Willson
Solix Biofuels, Inc., Fort Collins, Colorado, United States of America

Photobioreactors facilitate the cultivation of specific strains of algae and allow optimal growth conditions to
be maintained. To date, however, the high capital and operating costs of photobioreactors have prohibited
their use for “low-valued” products such as biofuels. A systematic development effort at Solix Biofuels has
resulted in the AGS (Algae Growth System) system for low cost production in closed photobioreactors
(PBR). The AGS system comprises a network of thin, vertical panels buoyantly supported in a shallow water
bath. The algal culture is contained in these panels; the vertical orientation provides “extended surface area”
which allows illumination of more surface area at lower intensity per unit area, thus maximizing
photosynthetic efficiency. The AGS panels contain sparging tubes which deliver CO2 as a carbon source
and also deliver sparging air to remove dissolved oxygen - a byproduct of photosynthesis. The Solix system
is applicable to a wide range of algae species, both freshwater and marine species. This presentation will
provide details on the Solix photobioreactor technology, control and operational strategy, and downstream
processes. Extensive testing and process modeling has been performed and are presented for the system
operating with the eustigmatophyte Nannochloropsis oculata. Experimental results and modeling are used to
show that the marginal cost of large-scale production using the current technology to be approximately
$1/liter ($150/barrel); with a defined path to reducing the production cost by half over the next 2-3 years.

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