Three‐reaction model for the anaerobic digestion of microalgae Journal Articles uri icon

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  • AbstractCoupling an anaerobic digester to a microalgal culture has received increasing attention as an alternative process for combined bioenergy production and depollution. In this article, a dynamic model for anaerobic digestion of microalgae is developed with the aim of improving the management of such a coupled system. This model describes the dynamics of inorganic nitrogen and volatile fatty acids since both can lead to inhibition and therefore process instability. Three reactions are considered: Two hydrolysis–acidogenesis steps in parallel for sugars/lipids and for proteins, followed by a methanogenesis step. The proposed model accurately reproduces experimental data for anaerobic digestion of the freshwater microalgae Chlorella vulgaris with an organic loading rate of 1 gCOD L−1 d−1. In particular, the three‐reaction pathway allows to adequately represent the observed decoupling between biogas production and nitrogen release. The reduced complexity of this model makes it suitable for developing advanced, model‐based control and monitoring strategies. Biotechnol. Bioeng. 2012; 109:415–425. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • Mairet, Francis
  • Bernard, Olivier
  • Cameron, Elliot
  • Ras, Monique
  • Lardon, Laurent
  • Steyer, Jean‐Philippe
  • Chachuat, Benoit

publication date

  • February 2012