Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.115, No.7, 1694-1704, 2018
Exergy efficiency of light conversion into biomass in the macroalga Ulva sp (Chlorophyta) cultivated under the pulsed light in a photobioreactor
Marine macroalgae are a potential feedstock for biorefineries that can reduce dependence on fossil fuels and contribute to bioeconomy. New knowledge and technologies for efficient conversion of solar energy into macroalgae biomass are needed to increase biomass yields and energy conversion efficiency. In this work, we show that the green macroalgae from Ulva sp. can grow under the pulsed light in a photobioreactor with higher exergy conversion efficiency in comparison to cultivation under constant light with the same intensity. In the tested frequencies, 1-40Hz and duty cycles (DC) 1-100%, DC has a stronger impact on the growth rate than frequency. The efficiency of light transformation into biomass increased with decreasing DC. Pulsating with DC 20% led to 60% of the biomass chemical energy yield for the respective constant light (DC 100%). Models of Ulva sp. growth rate and exergy conversion efficiency as a function of pulsating light parameters were developed. These results open new directions to enhance solar to chemical energy conversion through macroalgae by controlling the light distribution in the macroalgal biomass.