Enhanced algal growth rate in a Taylor vortex reactor

Bo Kong, Jacqueline V. Shanks, R. Dennis Vigil*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The rate of production of algal biomass in optically dense photobioreactors depends crucially on the temporal light exposure of microorganisms, which in turn is determined by fluid flow patterns and the quantity and spatial distribution of photosynthetically active radiation. In this report it is demonstrated that highly organized and robust toroidal flow structures known as Taylor vortices cause significant increases in the rate of biomass production, efficiency of light utilization, and CO2 uptake, and these effects become more pronounced at higher Reynolds numbers. In light of these findings and previously reported experiments using Taylor vortex flow to culture algae, it is argued that the flashing light effect, rather than mass transport effects, is responsible for the observed increases in the rate of photosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2140-2149
Number of pages10
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Flashing light effect
  • Taylor vortex reactor


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