Chemical Engineering Research & Design, Vol.91, No.2, 221-226, 2013
Comparing the energy efficiency of different high rate algal raceway pond designs using computational fluid dynamics
High Rate Algal Ponds with long, shallow, looped channels and powered by paddlewheels have been used since the late 1970s for growing algae to produce nutraceuticals and to remediate wastewater. These high rate or raceway ponds are also being applied to other fields such as CO2 capture and biodiesel production, where there is an ongoing effort to find ways of minimizing operating and capital costs. One approach for minimizing costs is to improve the energy efficiency of raceway ponds as this would lower operating costs and allow the construction of larger ponds, which should also lower capital costs. A major component of energy loss in a raceway pond is the energy required to circulate the fluid around the raceway, particularly at the hairpin bends. In order to design a low-energy consumption bend for a raceway pond, a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code was used to model different raceway bend configurations. These simulations assisted in the development of a novel bend design that can reduce the energy loss at a bend by around 87% relative to the energy consumed at a conventional bend. This new design can also remove or reduce the incidence of stagnation regions within the flow. Such a development should, potentially, improve the productivity of algae in raceway ponds. Crown Copyright (c) 2012 Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of The Institution of Chemical Engineers. All rights reserved.