The best choice: High end glass for your photobioreactor

Why high end glass is the best choice for your photobioreactor

If your main concerns are the algae production costs, the lifetime of the PBR system and the total cost of ownership, you are definitely making the right choice with a tubular glass PBR. However, even when choosing among glass PBRs, there are significant differences. These differences can have a profound impact on the final system performance and therefore it is crucial that you are aware of them.

Borosilicate glass – the best glass for a photobioreactor

The glass of the PBR tubes need to withstand numerous environmental impacts and cleaning processes, so that you can productively cultivate algae within them over many years. This is why SCHOTT uses borosilicate glass. This glass type is:
  1. UV-stable: The glass’ light transmittance stays almost constant, even when being exposed to decades of solar radiation and UV radiation.
  2. Chemically stable: Therefore, the glass tubes can be cleaned and disinfected with numerous chemical solutions to remove bio fouling within the reactor.
  3. Salt resistant: This is especially important when  planning on cultivating saltwater algae.
Find out more about the physical and chemical characteristics of borosilicate glass in our factsheet about borosilicate glass.

Why is high end glass better?

The right type of glass is not the only relevant aspect when choosing glass tubes for a PBR. Just as important is the way the glass is manufactured, how the glass tube is processed and how the system as a whole is designed. Therefore, high end glass components with high productivity and excellent cost benefit calculation differ from lower quality ones.

Learn more about this topic: How using a PBR with high end glass components makes algae cultivation more economically viable
why high end glass is better
For further understanding: The table presents how well or poorly the alternatives perform regarding important evaluation criteria; from “very well“ (++) to “very poorly“ (--).
PBR tubes usually have a wall thickness between 2.5 and 3.3 mm. Tests have shown, that a thinner wall with an outside diameter of 65 mm can lead to up to 10% more profit. Therefore, SCHOTT offers tubes with an outside diameter of 65 mm and a wall thickness of 2.2 mm and tubes with an outside diameter of 54 mm and an even thinner wall thickness of 1.8 mm.

Learn more about this topic: Why is a photobioreactor made of high end glass even better tody than it was five years ago

The advantages of high end glass at a glance

With the application of high end glass within a photobioreactor you can implement the following advantages:
  • Long lifespan of your photobioreactor of up to 50 years due to mechanically tension free and stable glass
  • Higher productivity through thinner tube wall thickness
  • Easy, tension free construction of the PBRs without gaps due to the same tube lengths
  • Low biofilm build-up
  • Rare production interruption because of cleaning
  • Integrated complete system due to coordinated components
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