Dynamic process model and economic analysis of microalgae cultivation in open raceway ponds

Sudhanya Banerjee, Shri Ramaswamy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Microalgae are a promising biomass feedstock for production of value-added chemicals and bioproducts. A first principle based bioreaction kinetics and bioprocess model of microalgae production was developed for an outdoor open raceway pond that takes into account year-round geospatial characteristics and variability. The primary factors that affect microalgae growth, such as solar irradiance, temperature, biological growth parameters, nutrients and carbon dioxide uptake rates, were considered in the bioreactor process model. Microalgae productivity varied between 2000 and 7200 t km− 2 year− 1 for the different geographical regions studied. For each location, techno-economic analysis was conducted to assess microalgae production price. The capital and operating expenses for microalgae cultivation systems were quantified based on the mass and energy balances of the process. Given the geospatial locations, cost of microalgae production varied between 1074 $ t− 1 to 502 $ t− 1. Results showed that cost of microalgae production depends heavily on the average areal productivity, price of nutrients, as well as design specifications of microalgae growth ponds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)330-340
Number of pages11
JournalAlgal Research
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to acknowledge the funding support by Buckman Graduate Fellowship from the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of Minnesota (MIN 12-060). Both the authors contributed to the conception and design of the study, literature review, model formulation and development, analysis and interpretation of data, writing the article, revision and final submission.


  • Economic analysis
  • Geospatial variations
  • Microalgae
  • Open raceway ponds


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