Influence of Water Depth on Microalgal Production, Biomass Harvest, and Energy Consumption in High Rate Algal Pond Using Municipal Wastewater.J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 Apr 28; 28(4):630-637.JM
The high rate algal ponds (HRAP) powered and mixed by a paddlewheel have been widely used for over 50 years to culture microalgae for the production of various products. Since light incidence is limited to the surface, water depth can affect microalgal growth in HRAP. To investigate the effect of water depth on microalgal growth, a mixed microalgal culture constituting three major strains of microalgae including Chlorella sp., Scenedesmus sp., and Stigeoclonium sp. (CSS), was grown at different water depths (20, 30, and 40 cm) in the HRAP, respectively. The HRAP with 20cm of water depth had about 38% higher biomass productivity per unit area (6.16 ± 0.33 g·m⁻²·d⁻¹) and required lower nutrients and energy consumption than the other water depths. Specifically, the algal biomass of HRAP under 20c m of water depth had higher settleability through larger floc size (83.6% settleability within 5 min). These results indicate that water depth can affect the harvesting process as well as cultivation of microalgae. Therefore, we conclude that water depth is an important parameter in HRAP design for mass cultivation of microalgae.