Dr. Stephan Schuessler
Papers # 2014 Chicago
The production of biomass as an alternative source for organic feedstocks like nutraceuticals, fertilizers, monomers, pharmaceuticals, organic antioxidants, fine chemicals or even fuel has become a topic of enormous global interest among researchers, investors and the industry over the past five years.
The concept of cultivation of microalgae as the basis of such biomass is a promising technology showing the unique characteristic to combine extremely fast and efficient biomass production and consumption of Carbondioxide with the absence from soil of this process. Thus, there is no competition with conventional agriculture, negating the “food-or-fuel-battle”. Algae-based biomass is typically grown in so-called “Photobioreactors” (PBRs); transparent compartments in which a suspension of algae-cells in water is circulated while being irradiated by sunlight or artificial light of appropriate frequencies.
Durable, affordable and energy-efficient PBR-concepts are required to explore the immense forecasted market-potential for this technology. This article describes how pipes made from specially developed transparent PVC-U grades have been successfully applied as a material of choice for various tubular PBR-designs. Many of these are already commercialized and functioning on a large scale. A special focus is set on the different PBR-designs, bioprocesses and how well transparent PVC-U can be tailored to meet the specific requirements of this very interesting technology.