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Thermal regulation of algae cultures in raceway ponds utilizing ground heat: Improving techno-economic feasibility and process sustainability of large-scale algae production in Qatar

journal contribution
submitted on 2023-12-31, 10:25 and posted on 2024-01-14, 05:12 authored by Rihab Rasheed, Kira Schipper, Imma Gifuni, Hareb Al-Jabri, Maria J. Barbosa, Olivier Gonçalves, Jeremy Pruvost

There is an increasing drive for developing sustainable alternatives for fuels, foods, feeds, and chemicals. Algae can play a significant role in this, however the commercialization of microalgal biomass is still limited for techno-economic reasons. Open raceway ponds are some of the most competitive systems to produce algae on a large scale, however productivities and techno-economics can be unfavorable when temperature fluctuations cause sub-optimal conditions. Maintaining temperatures nearer to strain-optima through thermal regulation has been shown to increase productivities, however the techno-economic impact of implementation has yet to be addressed. In this study the effect of ground-heat exchanger implementation for thermal regulation of open raceway ponds was evaluated in terms of productivity, production costs and process sustainability. Multiple thermal regulation scenarios were evaluated for two microalgae strains from Qatar, Pichochlorum maculatum and Nannochloris atomus, and it was projected that thermal regulation could increase annual biomass yields up to 10.0 and 69.6 %, respectively. Biomass production costs were found to be reduced as much as 29.5 %, depending on strain and regulation scenario. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis identified further means by which energy requirements and production costs could be reduced by 18.9 and 67.2 %, respectively, reaching a biomass production cost of 6.21 €·kg−1.

Other Information

Published in: Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Qatar University
  • College of Arts and Sciences - QU

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