Modeling and optimization of algae growth

Anthony Richard Thornton, Thomas Weinhart, Onno Bokhove, Bowen Zhang, Dick M. van der Sar, Kundan Kumar, Maxim Pisarenco, Maria Rudnaya, Valeriu Savceno, Jens Rademacher, Julia Zijlstra, Alicja Szabelska, Joanna Zyprych, Martin van der Schans, Vincent Timperio, Frits Veerman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic

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The wastewater from greenhouses has a high amount of mineral contamination and an environmentally-friendly method of removal is to use algae to clean this runo water. The algae consume the minerals as part of their growth process. In addition to cleaning the water, the created algal bio-mass has a variety of applications including production of bio-diesel, animal feed, products for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes, or it can even be used as a source of heating or electricity. The aim of this paper is to develop a model of algae production and use this model to investigate how best to optimize algae farms to satisfy the dual goals of maximizing growth and removing mineral contaminants. With this aim in mind the paper is split into five main sections. In the first a review of the biological literature is undertaken with the aim of determining what factors effect the growth of algae. The second section contains a review of exciting mathematical models from the literature, and for each model a steady-state analysis is performed. Moreover, for each model the strengths and weaknesses are discussed in detail. In the third section, a new two-stage model for algae production is proposed, careful estimation of parameters is undertaken and numerical solutions are presented. In the next section, a new one-dimensional spatial-temporal model is presented, numerically solved and optimization strategies are discussed. Finally, these elements are brought together and recommendations of how to continue are drawn.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 72nd European Study Group Mathematics with Industry
EditorsJason Frank, Rob van der Mei, Arnoud den Boer, Joost Bosman, Niek Bouman, Susanne van Dam, Chrétien Verhoef
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Event72nd European Study Group Mathematics with Industry - Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Duration: 25 Jan 201029 Jan 2010


Workshop72nd European Study Group Mathematics with Industry
Other25-29 January 2010


  • Algae growth
  • Coupled odes
  • Optimization
  • Numerical solution
  • Steady state analysis


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