Modeling and optimization of algae growth

A. Thornton, T. Weinhart, O. Bokhove, Bowen Zhang, D.M. Sar, van der, K. Kumar, M. Pisarenco, M. Rudnaya, V. Savcenco, J.D.M. Rademacher, J. Zijlstra, A. Szabelska, J. Zyprych, M. Schans, van der, V. Timperio, F. Veerman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

94 Downloads (Pure)


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 runoff 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 (SWI 2010, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 25-29, 2010)
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherCentrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling and optimization of algae growth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Thornton, A., Weinhart, T., Bokhove, O., Zhang, B., Sar, van der, D. M., Kumar, K., ... Veerman, F. (2010). Modeling and optimization of algae growth. In Proceedings of the 72nd European Study Group Mathematics with Industry (SWI 2010, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, January 25-29, 2010) (pp. 54-85). Amsterdam: Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica.