CEMS research featured as ACS Editors' Choice

Nov. 19, 2015 - CEMS graduate student Abdulla Malek, Professor Prodromos Daoutidis, and Luca C. Zullo, founder of VerdeNero LLC and co-founder of BioCee, Inc., had their research "Modeling and Dynamic Optimization of Microalgae Cultivation in Outdoor Open Ponds" published in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research selected as an American Chemical Society (ACS) Editors' Choice article, allowing open access to their work.

The research describes that the economics of algae cultivation are highly sensitive to the productivity of microalgae, which in turn can be adversely affected by varying weather conditions. This study develops a dynamic optimization formulation for determining optimal operating conditions for improving outdoor algae production over a production period. A first-principles model is developed for algae cultivation in outdoor open ponds considering the effect of daily varying local climatic conditions on algae growth. The model accounts for the effect of medium temperature, irradiance level, and nutrient availability on the growth of microalgae as well as the transfer of CO2 from a CO2 rich gas to the growth culture. Model validation against experimental results from the literature is conducted. Finally, a dynamic optimization problem is formulated to determine the optimal dilution rate, makeup water flow rate, and CO2 gas flow rate monthly profiles that minimize the cost of producing microalgae in a representative location (Imperial County in California, USA) over the course of a year.

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