Photobioreactor Control Algorithms in LabVIEW Utilizing Algae Bag Reactors

Open Access
Nebzydoski, Adam Joseph
Area of Honors:
Chemical Engineering
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. Wayne Roger Curtis, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Wayne Roger Curtis, Honors Advisor
  • Patrick Carmen Cirino, Faculty Reader
  • Labview
  • Algae
  • Bioreactor
A LabVIEW program was successfully coded to control algae growth in a thin, vertical short light path length photobioreactor with low level CO2 carbonic acid buffering. Two photobioreactors were run for seven days, one automated by LabVIEW and the other manually controlled. It was found during the experiment that the purging of accumulated nitrogen and oxygen from the silicone CO2 diffusion delivery line had a much greater effect than previously anticipated and needs to be dealt with more readily in future experiments. The automated bag grew to an OD550 = 3.56, 11.6% more than the manual bag which grew to an OD550 = 3.19. Looking at the linear light limited growth phase above OD550 = 0.60, the automated bag grew 12.7% faster than the manually controlled bag. Although the trend was for higher performance growth with automation, there is no conclusive evidence that either bag grew significantly better than the other. Further studies need to be executed to revise the program so that it can control a continuous reactor and for outdoor operation. Environmental factors, including temperature and outdoor light levels need to be considered as additional inputs that moderate system and controller response. For a continuous system, the culture cell density is also an important variable that needs to be considered.