Profile of the Ambient Conditions of the Proposed Site of the Physiology Laboratory/ Greenhouse for Microalgae Indoor Propagation

AUTHOR/S: Gardenia B. Beramo, Albert B. Jubilo, Eva Marie C. Mendoza, Ruth P. Barluado

DATE COMPLETED: July 05, 2013



             This research project is part of the “Program on Renewable Energy Production and Other Potential Applications Derived from Microalgae Species” which the proponents submitted to the School of Engineering & Architecture. The program includes these major tasks: (1) training of researchers on algae cultivation, (2) installation of a remote computer-based system to monitor ambient conditions at the proposed site for the microalgae laboratory/greenhouse, (3) profiling of the ambient conditions at the proposed site for the microalgae laboratory/ greenhouse, (4) design / layout of the microalgae  laboratory/ greenhouse. The succeeding tasks involve the acquisition of facilities and infrastructure, and the research projects that will be conducted by the faculty and students.

             This study employed the descriptive research design to come up with the profile of the ambient conditions at the proposed site of the laboratory/greenhouse for microalgae indoor propagation wherein computerized data recording and gathering from sensors was monitored.  The corrected computerized data that were taken from the mini weather station were analyzed and interpreted.

             The objective of this study is to establish a profile of the ambient conditions with respect to:  (1) temperature, (2) relative humidity, (3) dew point, (4) light intensity, and (5) barometric pressure at the construction site in preparation for the appropriate floor plan and building materials needed for setting up the microalgae laboratory/greenhouse structures.

The data obtained showed the following findings:

  1. The temperatures at the proposed site during the daytime were higher than at the nighttime ranging from 17.2oC to 48.6oC.  The peak temperature occurred between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm.  Some ambient temperatures were either below or above the optimal growth temperature range of 25-30 oC for  microalgae.
  1. The relative humidity at the proposed site was moderately higher during the nighttime than at the daytime ranging from 16.0% to 83.6%.  The peak relative humidity occurred between 6:00 pm to 6:00 am.
  1. The dew points at the proposed site were relatively higher during the daytime than at the nighttime ranging from 15.0oC to 34.9oC.  The peak dew point occurred between 7:30 am and 2:30 pm.
  1. The ambient light intensity at the proposed site was significantly higher during the daytime than at the nighttime ranging from 0 % to 78.7 %.  The peak intensity occurred between 6:30 am and 6:30 pm. Fluctuations in the ambient temperature and light intensity were unpredictable; most of them were not simultaneous and did not follow a pattern. There was correspondence on the net increase or decrease of the ambient temperatures with ambient light intensity within a day at the proposed site, but the inverse relationship occurred at certain times during nighttime wherein the light intensity decreased with a corresponding increase in temperature.  Although, there were factors other than light intensity such as mild air current, wind, clouds, rain/rain showers; heat reflection from the outdoor unit of the nearby air-conditioning system, and heat convection from structures in the vicinity affected the ambient temperature.
  1. There were no significant differences in the barometric pressure, whether at daytime or nighttime.

The following conclusions are obtained from the analysis and findings gathered from this study:

  1. Higher temperatures occurred during daytime while the cooler temperatures occurred during nighttime.  The extreme temperatures, either low or high, would affect the growth of microalgae. However, this could be controlled at the desired range.
  2. The higher relative humidity occurred during nighttime.
  3. The higher dew points occurred during daytime.
  4. The ambient light intensity was significantly higher during the daytime. The extreme ambient light intensity would affect the growth of microalgae during the photooxidation process but not during photosynthesis.
  5. There were no significant differences in barometric pressure. The profile of the ambient temperature and light intensity on the roof deck of Finster Hall was not conducive to the growth of microalgae.  Appropriate infrastructures and facilities will have to be provided to sustain microalgae propagation for research purposes.

Based on the findings and conclusions generated from this study, the researchers offer the following recommendations:

  1. That a greenhouse shall be provided to protect the microalgae during experimentation and production and to control the ambient conditions at the proposed site of the laboratory and production area.
  2. That a study shall be conducted to determine the effect of light intensity and temperature to the growth rate of specific microalgae species in the proposed site.
  3. That a study shall be conducted to determine the bio-physico-chemical characteristics of the water in the open pond and the photobioreactor during microalgae experimentations.
  4. That microalgae species, such as Schenedesmus sp. whose culture is easily acquired and already available in the region; i.e., being propagated in AlgaOil Limited, be given priority for experimentation and propagation.
  5. That appropriate infrastructure and facilities needed for microalgae cultivation and propagation be put up on the roof deck of Finster Hall (except perhaps the microalgae laboratory) where sunlight would be captured best and controlled when needed.  These consist of the following items and the details of which are in Chapter V and Appendices.

Microalgae Laboratory  Two options for the site of the microalgae laboratory:

a) Option 1 — the best option, not on the roof deck but in the 7th floor; near the stairs.

b) Option 2 — above the stairs, just before going out to the roof deck.

 Greenhouse

 Photobioreactor

 Open pond

 Centrifuge or Filtering medium

 Dryer

 Crusher or Grinder


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