Artificial Lighting System: Optimizing Photosynthesis for Microalgae Cultivation

Client : Symbiotic Envirotek
Industries: Agrifood, Environment, Energy, Natural resources
Technologies: Lighting to optimize photosynthesis

Problem

Microalgae cultivation holds great promise for the production of high value–added biomolecules, bioenergy, and more. To grow microalgae in photobioreactors, artificial lighting systems must be used. These lighting systems are key to ensuring productivity and mitigating production costs.

Current photobioreactors generally use standard lighting systems (e.g., white fluorescent light). Although inexpensive, fluorescent systems are not the optimal light source for photosynthesis. LED light sources, on the other hand, have undergone continuous improvements that make them a powerful tool for lighting systems optimized for photosynthesis. The company Symbiotic Envirotek has partnered with INO to develop a solution to optimize algae growth in its photobioreactors.

  • LED Lighting Element
  • Photobioreactor
  • Control System

Solution

INO has developed a LED-based lighting system for photobioreactors that allows for precision spectral and temporal control. Spectral ranges are selected to foster maximum chlorophyll absorption, and the ability to vary the duration of light pulses makes it possible to adapt the system to the dynamics of the photosynthesis process.

The key to the system’s success is INO’s expertise in developing purpose-designed optical elements featuring the characteristics and performance required by a given application. We drew on a range of core strengths and specialized expertise, including our extensive knowledge of lighting requirements for photosynthesis, optical modelling and design, heat dissipation calculations, development of control electronics for high power circuits, optical systems fabrication and testing, and submersible mechanics.

This solution was developed for a photobioreactor used to grow microalgae, but could easily be adapted to other types of photobioreactors, other plant crops, or other photosynthesis-based cultivation processes. Moreover, the spectral range used can be adjusted to stimulate specific metabolisms in microalgae or plants.

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