An advanced-material photobioreactor, the direct membrane-carbonation photobioreactor (DMCPBR), was tested to investigate the impact of directly submerging a membrane carbonation (MC) module of hollow-fiber membranes inside the photobioreactor. Results demonstrate that the DMCPBR utilized over 90% of the supplied CO2 by matching the CO2 flux to the C demand of photoautotrophic biomass growth. The surface area of the submerged MC module was the key to control CO2 delivery and biomass productivity. Tracking the fate of supplied CO2 explained how the DMCPBR reduced loss of gaseous CO2 while matching the inorganic carbon (IC) demand to its supply. Accurate fate analysis required that the biomass-associated C include soluble microbial products as a sink for captured CO2. With the CO2 supply matched to the photosynthetic demand, light attenuation limited the rate microalgal photosynthesis. The DMCPBR presents an opportunity to improve CO2-deliver efficiency and make microalgae a more effective strategy for C-neutral resource recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-37
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Inorganic carbon flux
  • Membrane-carbonation
  • Permeability
  • Photoautotrophic growth
  • Resource recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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