Cultivation of Chlorella

Cultivation of Chlorella sp. using concentrated desalination by continuous process

Researchers from Federal University of Santa Catarina, in Brazil, are investigating how well microalgae can grow using concentrated desalination from inland desalination of brackish water.

Dr. Ernani Sebastião Sant’Anna and research assistant Ângelo Paggi Matos are growing a unique strain of algae that can grow in concentrated desalination. The results of Ângelo’s research entitled “Cultivation of Chlorella sp. in photobioreactor by continuous process using a culture medium based on concentrated desalination” were recently presented at the 2nd International Conference on Algal Biomass, Biofuels & Bioproducts in San Diego, US.

The microalgae that Ernani and Ângelo use are originated from tanks of fish cultivation containing concentrated desalination in São João do Cariri, Paraíba, Brazil. The optimization of combining concentrated desalination and microalgae cultivation allows for Chlorella production in laboratory scale and can improve the way algae are produced in a raceway open pond.

Moving from the laboratory to large-scale algal commercial production systems has proven to be challenging, though. In open pond cultivation systems algal culture densities are low (0.1% (w/w)) and their small size (1-10µm) makes harvesting challenging. This opens up new opportunities for the development of innovative large scale, low energy algal harvesting systems. Extracting lipids from aqueous systems with minimal energy requirements or the direct conversion of algal biomass into biofuels also proposes unique challenges.

Raceway open ponds

Raceway open ponds located in São João do Cariri, Paraíba, Brazil. Cultivation of Chlorella sp. using a culture medium based on concentrated desalination.

Their objective is to develop a Chlorella species that can grow in concentrated desalination and simultaneously recycle the concentrate, increasing the sustainability (brine treatment & disposal) and possibly decreasing the cost of producing algae for products like biofuel.

Now, the work will be focused in the investigation of cell growth kinetics and physiological behaviors in a raceway open pond located in Northeast Brazil, and their adaptation to local climate conditions.

The Northeast region of Brazil has an ample source of sunlight, however water supplies are limited. Likewise, the nutrients for “feeding” the algae can be costly. Otherwise, this effort may also reduce the costs of desalination and microalgae production.

This work was developed by researchers from Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil. For further information, contact: