Enhanced Mass Transfer in Microbubble Driven Airlift Bioreactor for Microalgal Culture


In this study, the effect of microfluidic microbubbles on overall gas-liquid mass transfer (CO2 dissolution and O2 removal) was investigated under five different flow rates. The effect of different liquid substrate on CO2 mass transfer properties was also tested. The results showed that the KLa can be enhanced by either increasing the dosing flowrate or reducing the bubble size; however, increasing the flow rate to achieve a higher KLa would ultimately lower the CO2 capture efficiency. In order to achieve both higher CO2 mass transfer rate and capture efficiency, reducing bubble size (e.g. using microbubbles) has been proved more promising than increasing flow rate. Microbubble dosing with 5% CO2 gas showed improved KLa by 30% - 100% across different flow rates, compared to fine-bubble dosing. In the real algal culture medium, there appears to be two distinct stages in terms of KLa, divided by the pH of 8.4.

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K. Ying, M. Al-Mashhadani, J. Hanotu, D. Gilmour and W. Zimmerman, "Enhanced Mass Transfer in Microbubble Driven Airlift Bioreactor for Microalgal Culture," Engineering, Vol. 5 No. 9, 2013, pp. 735-743. doi: 10.4236/eng.2013.59088.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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