In this study, a novel optical panel photobioreactor (OPPBR) equipped with a V-cut/or flat optical panel (OP) and a light source, i.e., light-emitting diodes (LEDs) was developed. The performance of this OPPBR was assessed using cultures of Chlorella vulgaris. Growth rates of biomass were compared in bioreactors operated separately using a V-cut OP, or a flat-plate OP both equipped with LEDs or a fluorescent light source without any OP. The experiments were conducted at neutral pH (7.2 ± 0.3) with an initial cell concentration of 0.15 ± 0.05 g L−1, at 23 ± 1 °C under dark and light cycles of 8 and 16 h, respectively, using LEDs and fluorescent lamps for 11 days. The results demonstrated that the amount of biomass produced using the V-cut OP was three times higher than the flat-plate OP and five times higher than without the OP. Parametric studies demonstrated that a distance of 3 mm between the OP and the LEDs produced the highest illumination uniformity, i.e., 65.7% for the flat-plate OP and 87.6% for the V-cut OP. The OPPBR system can be scaled up and could be used to enhance biomass production using an LED and OP combination.
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