Algae Photobioreactor

An algae photobioreactor (PBR) is an apparatus that houses and cultivates algae. It provides a suitable environment for algae growth, supplying light, nutrients, air, and heat to the culture.


An algae photobioreactor tends to be more expensive than an open system but it has several major advantages. For instance, they can prevent or minimise contamination, permitting axenic algal cultivation of cultivating monocultures (culture consisting of only one species of microalgae), they offer better control over cultural conditions(pH, light, carbon dioxide, temperature). Further to this a closed system prevents water evaporation, lower carbon dioxide losses due to out gassing, and permits higher cell concentrations.

The algae are then harvested, and can be used as bio fuel, food supplements, cosmetics, animal feed, or fertiliser.

Spirulina is just one component of this amazing resource and is believed to have been a food source for the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans until the 16th Century. The harvesting of this form of algae from Lake Texcoco and subsequent sale as cakes is described by Cortés’ soldiers.

In recent times the United Nations World Food Conference lauds Spirulina as the ‘best food for the future’. Spirulina has also been proposed by both NASA and the European Space Agency as one of the primary foods to be cultivated during long-term space missions. Spirulina is now regarded as a ‘health food’ and can be quite easily cultivated in a PBR. A number of food agencies in Third World countries have developed programs to grow Spirulina locally as a high protien additive for people suffering from malnutrition.

This is an exciting field, why not try it yourself? 

Making Photobioreactors at Home is a great book that will show you how to quickly and easily build an Algae PBR, and start growing algae ammediately for Bio fuels, Animal Feed and Organic Fertilizer.