(566q) Numerical Analysis of the Water Depth of Open Raceway Ponds on Energy Consumption and Algal Productivity Using a Computational Fluid Dynamics Model

Authors: 
Wang, L., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Shahbazi, A., North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

Some microalgal strains have an excellent potential for biofuel production and the treatment of wastewater by reducing nitrate, phosphate and organic matter in the wastewater. Open cultivation systems, especially open raceway ponds have received considerable attention for the commercial cultivation of microalgae for biofuel production because of their easier and cheaper setup than photobioreactors. Major limitations of open raceway ponds include poor light utilization by the cells, high evaporative losses of water, high diffusion of CO2 to the atmosphere and requirement of large areas of land. The flow rate and the depth of water in a raceway pond affect the distribution of sunlight, CO2 and nutrients for the algal production and also the energy consumption for the circulation of water in the pond. Therefore, the goal of this research is to use a 3D computational fluid dynamics model based on ANSYS FLUENT 15.0 to study the hydrodynamic effects of water depth and flow rate of the pond on energy consumption and algal productivity. The model will be used validated by the experimental data collected on a lab-scale raceway pond. The model can be used to optimize the design and analyze an open raceway pond at different scales.