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Improving bioreactor light control to increase microalgae growth.

BioPro Control Tech Ltd and University College London recieved at 2015 ABSIG SPARK Plus Award for their project on "An optical fibre light utilisation and control system for microalgae biofuel production."

Dr. Yuhong Zhou from University College London and Dr. John Gilchrist from BioPro Control Tech teamed up to create control technology to harvest sunlight then transfer the light through optical fibres into the bioreactor to grow microalgae for biofuel production.

High processing cost is one of the challenges in using microalgae biofuel production. The optical fibre light unit made can provide a cheap way to utilize sunlight and a reasonably uniform light distribution in the bioreactor. The potentially better bioreactor light control will increase microalgae growth.

Through this project the feasibility of the optical fibre light utilisation for photobioreactors has been evaluated. The optical fibre is able to transfer the light successfully with minimal loss. In particular it was found the use of optical fibres to provide a uniform and controlled light intensity was feasible and promising. The leaky light intensity was high enough to satisfy the light demands of the microalgae cell culture. 


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