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The aim of the paper is to present the hydrodynamic, mass transfer and illumination characteristics of a laboratory helical-tube photobioreactor Biostat PBR-2S, commercially available and used in many laboratories in Poland and worldwide. The investigated hydrodynamics parameters were: mean liquid circulation rate, liquid velocity/residence time in the tubular part of the apparatus and mixing time, measured in the wide range of rotary speed of the circulation pump. The influence of the aeration intensity on these parameters was also checked. The volumetric oxygen and carbon dioxide transfer coefficients in the liquid phase and their dependency on the liquid circulation rate and gas inflow rate were determined. The experiments were performed in tap water and then in a real three-phase cultivation broth at the end of thermophilic cyanobacteria T. synechococus growth. For the final evaluation of the tested PBR there were series of test cultivations run under different conditions of illumination. The highest final concentration of the biomass of tested cyanobacteria reached the relatively high value of 4.38 g/dm3 of the dry biomass, although the process conditions were not fully optimized. The laboratory photobioreactor PBR-2S proved to be a good tool for investigations of microalgae cultivation processes. The presented results and practical observations may help to analyze and understand the mutual influence of the specific process parameters in the described PBR, especially during autotrophic organism cultivations.
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