Photobioreactor System

For the Efficient Production of Photosynthetic Microorganisms


Available for Licensing

IP Status

US Utility Patent: US 9637714B2


Bryan Willson

At A Glance
  • A scalable photobioreactor system used for the efficient production of photosynthetic microorganisms such as microalgae and cyanobacteria
  • A problem this invention solves is the ability to produce biofuels at a cost that is competitive with fossil fuels
  • The main market for this technology is the algae biofuel industry


Licensing Director

Jillian Lang

Reference No.: 07-057


Recently, many countries have turned to biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels. However, obtaining biofuels can be a difficult and costly process. A biofuel that can be grown productively on otherwise unusable land with minimal energy input is needed so as not to be detrimental to traditional agriculture industries. Microalgae is the key to address the problems of cultivating biofuels. A closed system photobioreactor can be sited on otherwise unusable land, limiting competition with food crops and minimizing water losses due to evaporation. Yields of biofuels from algae can potentially exceed the yields of soil crops by orders of magnitude. Algal cell growth can quickly replace extracted material, promising a year-round harvest. Additionally, the microalgae can utilize the carbon-rich flue gases of fossil fuel power plants and other industrial exhaust gasses, lowering the quantity of greenhouse gases expelled into the atmosphere.


Technology Overview

The invention satisfies an unresolved need for an economical, efficient closed system photobioreactor that is capable of growing high-density algal cultures, designed to optimize utilization of solar light, and to produce biofuels at a cost that is competitive with fossil fuels. The photobioreactor can also be used to produce other products than fuel, such as proteins, starch, other carbohydrates, vitamins, carotenoids, xantophylls and cellulose based materials.

  • Invention optimizes utilization of sunlight
  • High-density, highly scalable system
  • Economical Design

Last updated: May 2020