With funding from the Center for Biologically Inspired Design I designed and built an open source experimental algae photobioreactor. Open Source Hardware plans will be released when I complete the research report. This is a 2 gallon experimental algae photobioreactor built from 1/8 inch cast acrylic cut on a laser cutter at the Georgia Tech Invention Studio. The lighting is provided by a 13.8 watt LED array that irradiates the culture at 465nm and 650 nm- the absorbence band for photosystems I and II. A water jacket is built into the reactor to cool or heat the cultures and modulate the incoming light frequency for experiments. A 2 CFM air pump provides CO2 rich air to the culture through the sparger at the bottom of the tank.
The objective of this research is to analyze the systems benefits of integrating fungi and algae cultivation. CO2 enriched air from the fungi incubator should increase algal growth while moderating the incubator’s relative humidity. If a prototype outdoor algae reactor were incorporated into the ArkFab project algae from the reactor could be used as an alternative to unsustainable ocean mined fish feed. Tilapia like to eat algae! Future uses may include growing high-value astaxanthin and measuring the metabolic rates of photosystems I and II in various algae strains.
I’ll provide an update as soon as my spirulina strain comes in.