Numerical and experimental investigation of hydrodynamics and light transfer in open raceway ponds at various algal cell concentrations and medium depths

Hossein Amini, Abolhasan Hashemisohi, Lijun Wang, Abolghasem Shahbazi, Marwan Bikdash, Dukka KC, Wenqiao Yuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

A spectral radiation-transport model was integrated with a three dimensional computational fluid dynamics model to simulate the hydrodynamics and light transfer in open raceway ponds (ORPs). The predicted three-dimensional velocity and light intensity agreed well with measured values collected on a lab-scale ORP. However, there was a slight difference in the predicted velocity profiles using two different types of boundaries for the paddlewheel, i.e., the moving zone boundary and inlet velocity boundary, with R2 values between the predicted and measured velocities of 0.9947 and 0.9838, respectively. The R2 value between the predicted and measured light intensity was 0.9939. Simulations were further conducted on a large-scale ORP with 100 m2 surface area operated at total medium depths of 0.2 and 0.3 m, average cell concentration of 0.4 g/L, and inlet velocities of 0.1, 0.2 and 0.3 m/s from the paddlewheel. The increase of inlet flow velocity from 0.1 to 0.2 m/s resulted in a more uniform cell concentration profile. However, when the inlet velocity was further increased from 0.2 to 0.3 m/s, there was only a slight increase in the uniformity of the cell concentration. In addition, the simulation results showed that sedimentation of cells more likely occurred at the bottom of the ORP with a total medium depth of 0.2 m than at 0.3 m at the same inlet velocity. The increase of inlet velocity from the paddlewheel resulted in a uniformly distributed light intensity in the region near the medium surface (e.g., 0.05 m depth from the surface) owing to improved mixing. However, owing to a sudden drop in the light intensity after a few centimeters from the medium surface, the cell sedimentation that occurred at the bottom of the ORPs had negligible effects on the light penetration depth in the medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-23
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Volume156
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

Keywords

  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Light intensity distribution
  • Microalgae
  • Open raceway pond

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