A novel photobioreactor creating fluctuating light from solar energy for a higher light-to-biomass conversion efficiency

David Iluz, Said Abu-Ghosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Microalgae represent an exciting resource for biomass, biofuel, valuable chemicals, and they contribute to CO2 sequestration, thereby mitigating the increase in global warming. Similar to the other solar energy harvesting techniques for commercial purposes, the productivity of algal photosynthesis depends on the absorption and utilization efficiency of the solar irradiance by algae. Here we demonstrate a novel tubular photobioreactor that generates fluctuating light of controlled successive high and low intensities from sunlight, resembling light behavior in aquatic ecosystems, which favors the microalgae growth. The developed photobioreactor significantly increased the photosynthetic rate and growth of microalgae, with a higher light-to-biomass conversion efficiency than conventional photobioreactors, as cell doubling rate and biomass productivity increased >55% when the fluctuating frequency was set at 60 Hz providing ∼100% and ∼30% of total intensity, successively. The proposed photobioreactor enables an efficient mechanism that introduces a sufficient light-dose to the photosynthesizing organisms without fronting moments of photoinhibition or limiting photosynthesis by dark intervals, which can be a feasible and promising technology for large-scale production of microalgae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-773
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
StatePublished - 15 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge Prof. Yosef Yacobi from the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Kinneret Limnological Laboratory for critically reading the manuscript. This work was financially supported by the NATO – Belgium ( SFP 981883 ). The Author Said Abu-Ghosh dedicates this work to his parents.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd


  • Fluctuating light
  • Light and dark cycle
  • Nanochloropsis
  • Photobioreactor
  • Solar energy


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel photobioreactor creating fluctuating light from solar energy for a higher light-to-biomass conversion efficiency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this