Exergy efficiency of light conversion into biomass in the macroalga Ulva sp. (Chlorophyta) cultivated under the pulsed light in a photobioreactor

Oz Habiby, Omri Nahor, Alvaro Israel, Alexander Liberzon, Alexander Golberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Marine macroalgae are a potential feedstock for biorefineries that can reduce dependence on fossil fuels and contribute to bioeconomy. New knowledge and technologies for efficient conversion of solar energy into macroalgae biomass are needed to increase biomass yields and energy conversion efficiency. In this work, we show that the green macroalgae from Ulva sp. can grow under the pulsed light in a photobioreactor with higher exergy conversion efficiency in comparison to cultivation under constant light with the same intensity. In the tested frequencies, 1–40 Hz and duty cycles (DC) 1–100%, DC has a stronger impact on the growth rate than frequency. The efficiency of light transformation into biomass increased with decreasing DC. Pulsating with DC 20% led to 60% of the biomass chemical energy yield for the respective constant light (DC 100%). Models of Ulva sp. growth rate and exergy conversion efficiency as a function of pulsating light parameters were developed. These results open new directions to enhance solar to chemical energy conversion through macroalgae by controlling the light distribution in the macroalgal biomass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1694-1704
Number of pages11
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


FundersFunder number
Boris Mintz Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions
Israel Ministry of Science
TAU Center for Innovation in Transportation
Tel Aviv University
Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources215-11-051


    • Ulva
    • energy conversion efficiency
    • flashing light
    • macroalgae
    • photobioreactor
    • pulsed light


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