Computational fluid dynamics assisted design of thin-layer cascade photobioreactor components

Timm Severin, doctoral thesis Technical University of Munich, 2017

Mass production of microalgae need efficient open photobioreactor systems. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was applied for the simulation of the liquid flows in a thin-layer cascade photobioreactor. The virtual reactor representation was validated using a photobioreactor on a semi-technical scale (8 m2). Exploiting an extensive range of CFD-simulations, reactor components could be optimized and guidelines were provided for design and operation of thin-layer cascade photobioreactors.


  • Pfaffinger CE, Severin TS, Apel AC, Göbel J, Sauter J, Weuster-Botz D (2019): Light-dependent growth kinetics enable scale-up of well-mixed phototrophic bioprocesses in different types of photobioreactors. J Biotechnol 297: 41-48.
  • Severin T, Brück T, Weuster-Botz D (2019): Validated numerical fluid simulation of a thin-layer cascade photobioreactor in OpenFOAM. Eng Life Sci19: 97–103.
  • Severin TS, Apel A, Brück T, Weuster-Botz D (2018): Investigation of vertical mixing in open thin-layer cascade reactors using Computational Fluid Dynamics. Chem Eng Res Design, 132: 436-444.
  • Severin TS, Plamauer S, Apel AC, Brück T, Weuster-Botz D (2017): Rapid salinity measurements for fluid flow characterisation using minimal invasive sensors. Chem Eng Sci 166: 161-167.