Comparison of productivity and economic analysis of microalgae cultivation in open raceways and flat panel photobioreactor

Sudhanya Banerjee, Shri Ramaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Microalgae is a promising biomass feedstock for the production of valuable bioenergy and bioproducts. Here the comparative differences of microalgae productivity potential in open raceway ponds and flat panel photobioreactors for different geographical locations in the United States are presented. Microalgae productivity potential was determined using a first-principles based model incorporating geographical variabilities and climate factors, including solar irradiance, air temperature, relative humidity, and wind velocity. Microalgae productivity varied from 2000 to 13,000 t km 2 year 1 for the different locations and reactor systems. Based on detailed economic analysis, microalgae costs were shown to vary between 500 and 9560 $ t 1. The costs variation can be mainly attributed to the differences in productivity potential for a geographic location and reactor system as well as to the different process engineering design parameters. The results from this work on provide important information on commercial feasibility of implementing algal biorefineries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100328
JournalBioresource Technology Reports
StatePublished - Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge the funding support by the Buckman Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and the Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship at the University of Minnesota .


  • Flat panel photobioreactor
  • Geospatial variabilities
  • Microalgae cultivation
  • Open raceway pond
  • Techno-economic analysis

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