Modeling and Dynamic Optimization of Microalgae Cultivation in Outdoor Open Ponds

Abdulla Malek, Luca C. Zullo, Prodromos Daoutidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This paper presents a model-based dynamic optimization study of the operation of an outdoor open pond for microalgae cultivation. A nonlinear mathematical model based on first-principles for predicting the growth of microalgae in open ponds is developed and validated against literature data. To account for the impact of weather vagaries on the cultivation of microalgae, data for local climatic conditions is incorporated into the model. The supply of dissolved CO2 to the algal culture from a CO2 rich gas is modeled as well. Optimal monthly operating profiles for the dilution rate, CO2 gas flow rate, and makeup water flow rate are determined based on minimization of the cultivation cost. The case study included in the analysis is for cultivating Nannochloropsis Salina over an annual production cycle in California, United States of America. The dynamic optimization identified a set of operation profiles that reduced the cultivation cost by at least 15% as opposed to relying on heuristic approaches for improving operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3327-3337
Number of pages11
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 30 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the financial support from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Chemical Society.

Copyright 2016 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

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