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Design and implementation of control system for optimal growth of microalgae in outdoor ponds

Rauf, Salman (2018) Design and implementation of control system for optimal growth of microalgae in outdoor ponds. Masters by Coursework thesis, Murdoch University.

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Over the last decade or so, extensive research has taken place in the field of microalgae for the production of biomass, bio fuels and waste water treatment. With the evolution and versatility in biotechnology, microalgal biomasses have been treated industrially for food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and animal feed besides other high-value bio products beneficial for mankind.

Microalgae can be cultivated in open systems such as open raceway ponds or closed systems such as photobioreactors (PBR). The conditions for growth in the PBRs are tightly controlled for maximum algal biomass production; however, it comes with associated cost. Although, it is far less costly for growing microalgae outdoor open ponds, the conditions are uncontrolled and hence growth remains compromised due to environmental factors. There are several variables responsible for the growth of microalgae both indoor and outdoor. This thesis documents the strategy for controlling one of the important parameters of growth, i.e., the temperature of an outdoor pond around an optimal temperature range. Different sensors were used in the system to measure the parameters of the same culture in two different ponds, however, only temperature was manipulated in one of the ponds and its growth was compared with the other pond where all the variables were left unaltered.

A Proportional Integral controller was implemented for the purpose of controlling the temperature at the required hours of the day. Several tests were conducted to check the performance of the controller before the controller was deployed. A user interactive LabVIEW application was developed keeping in view the requirements of the user, which also included data storage functionality.

As a result of the experiment, it was observed in the various harvests of the culture that there is an increase in the biomass and productivity of the heated pond. The results were statistically analysed to highlight the significance of growth that was observed during the experiments.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Coursework)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Bahri, Parisa, Parlevliet, David and Moheimani, Navid
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