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Supplying treated exhaust gases for effecting growth of phototrophic biomass

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Supplying treated exhaust gases for effecting growth of phototrophic biomass


There is provided a process for growing a phototrophic biomass in a reaction zone. The process includes treating an operative carbon dioxide supply-comprising gaseous material feed so as to effect production of a carbon dioxide-rich product material. The carbon dioxide concentration of the carbon dioxide-rich product material is greater than the carbon dioxide concentration of the operative carbon dioxide supply-comprising gaseous material feed. Production of at least a fraction of the operative carbon dioxide supply-comprising gaseous material feed is effected by a gaseous exhaust material producing process. At least a fraction of the carbon dioxide-rich product material is supplied to the reaction zone so as to effect growth of the phototrophic biomass by photosynthesis in the reaction zone.

Browse recent Pond Biofuels Inc. patents - Scarborough, CA
Inventors: Jaime A. Gonzalez, Max Kolesnik, Steven C. Martin
USPTO Applicaton #: #20120276633 - Class: 435420 (USPTO) - 11/01/12 - Class 435 
Chemistry: Molecular Biology And Microbiology > Plant Cell Or Cell Line, Per Se (e.g., Transgenic, Mutant, Etc.); Composition Thereof; Process Of Propagating, Maintaining, Or Preserving Plant Cell Or Cell Line; Process Of Isolating Or Separating A Plant Cell Or Cell Line; Process Of Regenerating Plant Cells Into Tissue, Plant Part, Or Plant, Per Se, Where No Genotypic Change Occurs; Medium Therefore >Culture, Maintenance, Or Preservation Techniques, Per Se

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The Patent Description & Claims data below is from USPTO Patent Application 20120276633, Supplying treated exhaust gases for effecting growth of phototrophic biomass.

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FIELD

The present disclosure relates to a process for growing biomass.

BACKGROUND

The cultivation of phototrophic organisms has been widely practised for purposes of producing a fuel source. Exhaust gases from industrial processes have also been used to promote the growth of phototrophic organisms by supplying carbon dioxide for consumption by phototrophic organisms during photosynthesis. By providing exhaust gases for such purpose, environmental impact is reduced and, in parallel a potentially useful fuel source is produced. Challenges remain, however, to render this approach more economically attractive for incorporation within existing facilities.

SUMMARY

In one aspect, there is provided a process for growing a phototrophic biomass in a reaction zone. The process includes treating an operative carbon dioxide supply-comprising gaseous material feed so as to effect production of a carbon dioxide-rich product material. The carbon dioxide concentration of the carbon dioxide-rich product material is greater than the carbon dioxide concentration of the operative carbon dioxide supply-comprising gaseous material feed. Production of at least a fraction of the operative carbon dioxide supply-comprising gaseous material feed is effected by a gaseous exhaust material producing process. At least a fraction of the carbon dioxide-rich product material is supplied to the reaction zone so as to effect growth of the phototrophic biomass by photosynthesis in the reaction zone.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The process of the preferred embodiments of the invention will now be described with the following accompanying drawings:

FIG. 1 is a process flow diagram of an embodiment of the process.

FIG. 2 is a schematic illustration of a portion of a fluid passage of an embodiment of the process.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Reference throughout the specification to “some embodiments” means that a particular feature, structure, or characteristic described in connection with some embodiments are not necessarily referring to the same embodiments. Furthermore, the particular features, structure, or characteristics may be combined in any suitable manner with one another.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is provided a process of growing a phototrophic biomass in a reaction zone 10. The reaction zone 10 includes a reaction mixture that is operative for effecting photosynthesis upon exposure to photosynthetically active light radiation. The reaction mixture includes phototrophic biomass material, carbon dioxide, and water. In some embodiments, the reaction zone includes phototrophic biomass and carbon dioxide disposed in an aqueous medium. Within the reaction zone 10, the phototrophic biomass is disposed in mass transfer communication with both of carbon dioxide and water.

“Phototrophic organism” is an organism capable of phototrophic growth in the aqueous medium upon receiving light energy, such as plant cells and micro-organisms. The phototrophic organism is unicellular or multicellular. In some embodiments, for example, the phototrophic organism is an organism which has been modified artificially or by gene manipulation. In some embodiments, for example, the phototrophic organism is an alga. In some embodiments, for example, the algae are microalgae.

“Phototrophic biomass” is at least one phototrophic organism. In some embodiments, for example, the phototrophic biomass includes more than one species of phototrophic organisms.

“Reaction zone 10” defines a space within which the growing of the phototrophic biomass is effected. In some embodiments, for example, the reaction zone 10 is provided in a photobioreactor 12. In some embodiments, for example, pressure within the reaction zone is atmospheric pressure.

“Photobioreactor 12” is any structure, arrangement, land formation or area that provides a suitable environment for the growth of phototrophic biomass. Examples of specific structures which can be used is a photobioreactor 12 by providing space for growth of phototrophic biomass using light energy include, without limitation, tanks, ponds, troughs, ditches, pools, pipes, tubes, canals, and channels. Such photobioreactors may be either open, closed, partially closed, covered, or partially covered. In some embodiments, for example, the photobioreactor 12 is a pond, and the pond is open, in which case the pond is susceptible to uncontrolled receiving of materials and light energy from the immediate environments. In other embodiments, for example, the photobioreactor 12 is a covered pond or a partially covered pond, in which case the receiving of materials from the immediate environment is at least partially interfered with. The photobioreactor 12 includes the reaction zone 10 which includes the reaction mixture. In some embodiments, the photobioreactor 12 is configured to receive a supply of phototrophic reagents (and, in some of these embodiments, optionally, supplemental nutrients), and is also configured to effect discharge of phototrophic biomass which is grown within the reaction zone 10. In this respect, in some embodiments, the photobioreactor 12 includes one or more inlets for receiving the supply of phototrophic reagents and supplemental nutrients, and also includes one or more outlets for effecting the recovery or harvesting of biomass which is grown within the reaction zone 10. In some embodiments, for example, one or more of the inlets are configured to be temporarily sealed for periodic or intermittent time intervals. In some embodiments, for example, one or more of the outlets are configured to be temporarily sealed or substantially sealed for periodic or intermittent time intervals. The photobioreactor 12 is configured to contain the reaction mixture which is operative for effecting photosynthesis upon exposure to photosynthetically active light radiation. The photobioreactor 12 is also configured so as to establish photosynthetically active light radiation (for example, a light of a wavelength between about 400-700 nm, which can be emitted by the sun or another light source) within the photobioreactor 12 for exposing the phototrophic biomass. The exposing of the reaction mixture to the photosynthetically active light radiation effects photosynthesis and growth of the phototrophic biomass. In some embodiments, for example, the established light radiation is provided by an artificial light source 14 disposed within the photobioreactor 12. For example, suitable artificial lights sources include submersible fiber optics or light guides, light-emitting diodes (“LEDs”), LED strips and fluorescent lights. Any LED strips known in the art can be adapted for use in the photobioreactor 12. In the case of the submersible LEDs, in some embodiments, for example, energy sources include alternative energy sources, such as wind, photovoltaic cells, fuel cells, etc. to supply electricity to the LEDs. Fluorescent lights, external or internal to the photobioreactor 12, can be used as a back-up system. In some embodiments, for example, the established light is derived from a natural light source 16 which has been transmitted from externally of the photobioreactor 12 and through a transmission component. In some embodiments, for example, the transmission component is a portion of a containment structure of the photobioreactor 12 which is at least partially transparent to the photosynthetically active light radiation, and which is configured to provide for transmission of such light to the reaction zone 10 for receiving by the phototrophic biomass. In some embodiments, for example, natural light is received by a solar collector, filtered with selective wavelength filters, and then transmitted to the reaction zone 10 with fiber optic material or with a light guide. In some embodiments, for example, both natural and artificial lights sources are provided for effecting establishment of the photosynthetically active light radiation within the photobioreactor 12.

“Aqueous medium” is an environment that includes water. In some embodiments, for example, the aqueous medium also includes sufficient nutrients to facilitate viability and growth of the phototrophic biomass. In some embodiments, for example, supplemental nutrients may be included such as one of, or both of, NOX and SOX. Suitable aqueous media are discussed in detail in: Rogers, L. J. and Gallon J. R. “Biochemistry of the Algae and Cyanobacteria,” Clarendon Press Oxford, 1988; Burlew, John S. “Algal Culture: From Laboratory to Pilot Plant.” Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 600. Washington, D.C., 1961 (hereinafter “Burlew 1961”); and Round, F. E. The Biology of the Algae. St Martin\'s Press, New York, 1965; each of which is incorporated herein by reference). A suitable supplemental nutrient composition, known as “Bold\'s Basal Medium”, is described in Bold, H. C. 1949, The morphology of Chlamydomonas chlamydogama sp. nov. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 76: 101-8 (see also Bischoff, H. W. and Bold, H. C. 1963. Phycological Studies IV Some soil algae from Enchanted Rock and related algal species, Univ. Texas Publ. 6318: 1-95, and Stein, J. (ED.) Handbook of Phycological Methods, Culture methods and growth measurements, Cambridge University Press, pp. 7-24).

The process includes supplying the reaction zone 10 with carbon dioxide derived from a gaseous exhaust material 14 being discharged by a gaseous exhaust material producing process 16. The gaseous exhaust material 14 includes carbon dioxide, and the carbon dioxide of the gaseous exhaust material defines produced carbon dioxide.

In some embodiments, for example, the gaseous exhaust material 14 includes a carbon dioxide concentration of at least two (2) volume % based on the total volume of the gaseous exhaust material 14. In some embodiments, for example, the gaseous exhaust material 14 includes a carbon dioxide concentration of at least four (4) volume % based on the total volume of the gaseous exhaust material 14. In some embodiments, for example, the gaseous exhaust material reaction 14 also includes one or more of N2, CO2, H2O, O2, NOx, SOx, CO, volatile organic compounds (such as those from unconsumed fuels) heavy metals, particulate matter, and ash. In some embodiments, for example, the gaseous exhaust material 14 includes 30 to 60 volume % N2, 5 to 25 volume % O2, 2 to 50 volume % CO2, and 0 to 30 volume % H2O, based on the total volume of the gaseous exhaust material 14. Other compounds may also be present, but usually in trace amounts (cumulatively, usually less than five (5) volume % based on the total volume of the gaseous exhaust material 14).

In some embodiments, for example, the gaseous exhaust material 14 includes one or more other materials, other than carbon dioxide, that are beneficial to the growth of the phototrophic biomass within the reaction zone 10. Materials within the gaseous exhaust material which are beneficial to the growth of the phototrophic biomass within the reaction zone 10 include SOX, NOX, and NH3.

In some embodiments, for example, a supplemental nutrient supply 18 is supplied to the reaction zone 10. In some embodiments, for example, the supplemental nutrient supply 18 is effected by a pump, such as a dosing pump. In other embodiments, for example, the supplemental nutrient supply 18 is supplied manually to the reaction zone 10. Nutrients within the reaction zone 10 are processed or consumed by the phototrophic biomass, and it is desirable, in some circumstances, to replenish the processed or consumed nutrients. A suitable nutrient composition is “Bold\'s Basal Medium”, and this is described in Bold, H. C. 1949, The morphology of Chlamydomonas chlamydogama sp. nov. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club. 76: 101-8 (see also Bischoff, H. W. and Bold, H. C. 1963, Phycological Studies IV Some soil algae from Enchanted Rock and related algal species, Univ. Texas Publ. 6318: 1-95, and Stein, J. (ED.) Handbook of Phycological Methods, Culture methods and growth measurements, Cambridge University Press, pp. 7-24). The supplemental nutrient supply 18 is supplied for supplementing the nutrients provided within the reaction zone, such as “Bold\'s Basal Medium”, or one or more dissolved components thereof. In this respect, in some embodiments, for example, the supplemental nutrient supply 18 includes “Bold\'s Basal Medium”. In some embodiments for example, the supplemental nutrient supply 18 includes one or more dissolved components of “Bold\'s Basal Medium”, such as NaNO3, CaCl2, MgSO4, KH2PO4, NaCl, or other ones of its constituent dissolved components.



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stats Patent Info
Application #
US 20120276633 A1
Publish Date
11/01/2012
Document #
13095490
File Date
04/27/2011
USPTO Class
435420
Other USPTO Classes
4352571, 435243, 47/14
International Class
/
Drawings
3



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