Evaluation of wavelength selective photovoltaic panels on microalgae growth and photosynthetic efficiency

TitleEvaluation of wavelength selective photovoltaic panels on microalgae growth and photosynthetic efficiency
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsDetweiler, AM, Mioni, CE, Hellier, KL, Allen, JJ, CARTER, S, Bebout, BM, Fleming, EE, Corrado, C, Prufert-Bebout, LE
JournalAlgal Research
Start Page170
Date Published03/2015
Keywordsalgae, concentrator, lsc, luminescent solar concentrator, microalgae, telelumen, wavelength selective solar concentrator

Large-scale cultivation of microalgal biomass in open systems can benefit from the low cost of using natural sunlight, as opposed to artificial light, but may encounter problems with photoinhibition, high evaporation rates, potential contamination and high energy demand. Wavelength selective luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) panels can solve some of these problems when incorporated into low-cost sheltered structures for algal biomass production that concurrently produce their own electricity by harnessing select portions of solar energy, not used for algal growth. The LSC panels in this study contained a fluorescent dye, Lumogen Red 305, which transmits blue and red wavelengths used for photosynthesis with high efficiency, while absorbing the green wavelengths and re-emitting them as red wavelengths. The fluorescently generated red wavelengths are either transmitted to boost algal growth, or waveguided and captured by photovoltaic cells to be converted into electricity. We found that different strains of microalgae (currently used commercially) grew equally well under the altered spectral conditions created by the luminescent panels, compared to growth under the full solar spectrum. Thus this technology presents a new approach wherein algae can be grown under protected, controlled conditions, while the cost of operations is offset by the structure's internal electrical production, without any loss to algal growth rate or achievable biomass density.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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