Sugar-stimulated CO 2 sequestration by the green microalga Chlorella vulgaris

Weiqi Fu, Steinn Gudmundsson, Kristine Wichuk, Sirus Palsson, Bernhard O. Palsson, Kourosh Salehi-Ashtiani, Sigurður Brynjólfsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To convert waste CO 2 from flue gases of power plants into value-added products, bio-mitigation technologies show promise. In this study, we cultivated a fast-growing species of green microalgae, Chlorella vulgaris, in different sizes of photobioreactors (PBRs) and developed a strategy using small doses of sugars for enhancing CO 2 sequestration under light-emitting diode illumination. Glucose supplementation at low levels resulted in an increase of photoautotrophic growth-driven biomass generation as well as CO 2 capture by 10% and its enhancement corresponded to an increase of supplied photon flux. The utilization of urea instead of nitrate as the sole nitrogen source increased photoautotrophic growth by 14%, but change of nitrogen source didn't compromise glucose-induced enhancement of photoautotrophic growth. The optimized biomass productivity achieved was 30.4% higher than the initial productivity of purely photoautotrophic culture. The major pigments in the obtained algal biomass were found comparable to its photoautotrophic counterpart and a high neutral lipids productivity of 516.6 mg/(L·day) was achieved after optimization. A techno-economic model was also developed, indicating that LED-based PBRs represent a feasible strategy for converting CO 2 into value-added algal biomass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-283
Number of pages9
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019


  • CO capture
  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Fine-tuned mixotrophic growth
  • LED illumination
  • Microalga

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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