Types of photobioreactors

Yoong Kit Leong, Jo Shu Chang, Duu Jong Lee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


Photobioreactors are bioreactors with illumination specifically used for the culture of photosynthetic microorganisms, such as microalgae and cyanobacteria. The most basic configurations of photobioreactors include vertical columns, horizontal tubes, and flat plates. To overcome the limitations in these classical configurations, researchers and engineers have developed innovative types of photobioreactors, such as helical tubular, flat panel-airlift, plastic bag type, Taylor vortex, internally illuminated, and other innovative photobioreactors. This chapter focused on the different types of photobioreactors, including their advantages and disadvantages, operation principles, and innovations. Some innovative photobioreactors with unique shapes, such as conical, fractal tree-like, L-shaped, pyramid, ring, torus, V-shaped, X-shaped, and others are discussed. Among all photobioreactor designs, horizontal tubular, and flat-panel airlift demonstrated the highest potential for commercial applications for mass cultivation of photosynthetic microorganisms owing to the advantage of large illumination surface area to volume ratio and efficient mass transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent Developments in Biotechnology and Bioengineering
Subtitle of host publicationPhotobioreactors: Design and Applications
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9780323999113
ISBN (Print)9780323912884
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jan 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


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