Performance of a flat plate, air-lift reactor for the growth of high biomass algal cultures

Iain A.J. Ratchford, Howard J. Fallowfield

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31 Citations (Scopus)


A flat plate, multi-pass air lift reactor (FPALR) for the culture of photosynthetic organisms was constructed from twin wall acrylic sheet and its performance characterised. When operated at an air input of 2.01 min-1 the multi-pass system had a Reynolds number of 5200 indicating fully turbulent flow. Chlorella vulgaris 211/11c was found to have a stationary phase biomass of 1.48 g 1-1 when grown in the flat plate air lift reactor (FPALR) at 100 μmol m-2s-1 compared to 1.11 g 1-1 when cultured in the continually stirred tank reactor (CSTR) at the same PFD (photon flux density). The same organism cultured at 200 μmol m-2s-1 achieved a stationary phase biomass of 1.71 g 1-1 in the FPALR. In contrast, Scenedesmus sp. produced a stationary phase biomass of 2.27 g1-1 and 1.27 g1-1, when cultured at 100 μmol m-2s-1 in the FPALR and the CSTR respectively. The growth rates of both organisms were also higher in the PFALR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Phycology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlorella
  • flat plate air-lift reactor
  • hydraulic characteristics
  • photobioreactor
  • photosynthesis
  • Synechococcus


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