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Industrial Plankton Photobioreactors

Industrial Plankton Photobioreactors 2017-09-26T08:00:48-05:00

Industrial Plankton Algae Bioreactors are a turn-key solution for aquaculture, algae inoculum, research, and biotech. Through automation, these bioreactors eliminate the majority of repetitive tasks involved in culturing algae. The equipment can be automatically cleaned and sterilized before inoculation by simply pressing a button on the touchscreen. The sealed chamber, when seeded with 20 liters of algae, is capable of growing up to 2,500 liters of pure culture in 7–10 days, while continuously monitoring algae growth using a built in sensor. The machine also self-harvests and replaces the harvested water with new water and nutrients, which are filtered and sterilized at the point of entry. The equipment greatly simplifies the complex and time consuming task of algae culture, while also increasing production reliability and biosecurity. Requires fresh or saltwater inlet line.

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IP100 IP1000 IP1250
Volts 120/230 120/230 120/230
Hz 60/50 60/50 60/50
Amps 20/10 30/15 40/20
Tank Capacity 100L 1000L 1250L
Inlet Lines CO2, Inlet Water CO2, Inlet Water, Chilled Water CO2, Inlet Water, Chilled Water
Space Required 2’L 3’W 4’H 4’L 4’W 7’H 6’L 6’W 9.5’H

Aquaculture Applications

The 100L, 1000L, and 1250L PBRs use real time monitoring, user friendly control system, and data logging, letting hatcheries focus on their livestock, and not their algae. Problems with algae production are often the causes of low or unreliable hatchery yields. This unreliability and high production costs of microalgae are limiting factors to the success of many hatcheries. Despite efforts over the past decade to develop cost effective artificial diets to supplement live microalgae, on-site live microalgal production remains a critical element in the operation of most successful marine hatcheries.

Algae Cultivation

The 1000L and 1250L PBRs are absolutely ideal for creating contaminant free inoculum for large scale cultivation. The PBR automatically up-scales the culture based on density. This means that you can start with 20-30L of algae culture, and within a week be up to 1000L-1250L of clean algae that is ready to be used to inoculate a larger reactor, or be harvested for product and begin the scale up procedure again.

Research Applications

The 100L PBR combines cutting edge technology with meaningful production volume, simplifying production of live algae in universities, public aquariums, and industrial research. Researchers can see their culture parameters graphed continuously in real time, and sterilize the reactor between experiments with the push of a button – all in a fully automated closed system, featuring closed loop pH control, integrated heating/chilling, and remote access capabilities. The algae produced is ideal for feeding zooplankton and larval marine animals.

Production Modes

Practically all species of freshwater and saltwater algae commonly used in aquaculture can be grown in the reactors. They can be operated in batch mode, or continuously using an automated top and drop, which harvests then replaces a portion of the culture each time the cell density exceeds a user setpoint.


Features include:

  • Innovative tank design – the star shaped, corrugated tank doubles the surface area for light exposure so cultures can grow denser before cell shading limits growth
  • Lighting – LED and T5 grow lights provide bright, evenly spaced light across the tank surface, providing maximum light without photo inhibition. To prevent photo inhibition during scale up, the bioreactor checks the culture density and only turns on lights as they are needed, based on user controlled setpoints. The brightness can also be controlled, allowing algae with a variety of light requirements to be cultured.
  • Self Cleaning and Sterilizing – If you want to restart the culture it’s a simple process. The tank is drained through the bottom, then pressure washed and sterilized by pushing a button.
  •  Inoculation – The photobioreactor starts by adding water and nutrients, then adjusts temperature and light levels. Inoculation is simple, just hook up a carboy or flask to the machine’s inoculation port, then use the onboard air supply to push the culture from the carboy into the bioreactor.
  • Scale-up – to simplify the process as the culture density grows, water and nutrients are added to the system automatically until it reaches the maximum volume
  • Harvest – A portion of the culture is harvested multiple times each day, then automatically replaced with new water & nutrients. Small frequent harvests increase the overall yield, and make the algae’s nutrient profile more predictable. The whole tank can also be harvested with the push of a button.
  • Biosecurity – Incoming water is slowly passed through a UV filter after being pre-filtered using a nominal micron filter. Nutrients are then added to the water and passed through 2 additional stages of absolute micron filtration, down to 0.1um. Air and CO2 entering and leaving the tank are also passed through 0.1um filters. Harvesting is done automatically using a biosecure pinch valve
  • Optical Density Sensor – The density of the culture is constantly monitored so that the photobioreactor can automatically scale-up the culture, or harvest when it is full
  • Remote Monitoring – Check and control your pond from anywhere! With a built in computer you can log in and view your reactor statistics from anywhere


Touchscreen Controls

A user friendly touchscreen interface lets you control the culture parameters and fine tune the operation for different species and situations. User controlled setpoints control parameters such as temperature, CO2 injection, harvesting cell density, light levels, etc. In addition to automated controls the machine can be controlled manually, making it easy to harvest, or add water or nutrients at any point.

Touchscreen controls

Onboard Graphing and Datalogging

Culture parameters are logged and graphed in realtime on the touchscreen, making it easier to maintain a culture in exponential growth for continuous culture, or decide when a batch is ready for harvest. The controls, including these graphs, can be accessed remotely from a personal computer.

Data readout