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Mathematics for streamlined biofuel production from unicellular algae

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Otti CrozeORCiD


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One of the greatest challenges of this century is to employ natures resources to address the worlds energy, food, water and chemical requirements without further unsettling the potentially precarious environmental balance in which we live. The recent resurgence of interest in green algae for biotechnological applications, such as bioenergy, carbon capture and pharmaceuticals, means it is vital that we understand the dynamics of suspensions of living cells. It is widely appreciated that mathematics can aid the optimization of the production of biofuels from algae. However, less obviously, mathematics can reveal mechanisms associated with the fact that many species of unicellular algae swim, and do so in preferred directions in response to environmental cues. Accumulations of cells can induce macroscale hydrodynamic instabilities due to their buoyancy, called bioconvection. There are immediate consequences for algal photobioreactor design, such as methods for cell harvesting, avoiding biofouling and understanding cellular dispersion in pipe flow. © 2014 Future Science Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bees MA, Croze OA

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biofuels

Year: 2014

Volume: 5

Issue: 1

Pages: 53-65

Online publication date: 09/04/2014

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1759-7269

ISSN (electronic): 1759-7277


DOI: 10.4155/bfs.13.66