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Energies Webinar | Modelling, Simulation and Advanced Control of Microalgae Related Processes as the Key Factor to Achieve Robust and Reliable Industrial Processes

27 Oct 2021, 10:00 (CET)

Microalgae, Photobioreactors, Modelling, Advanced Control, Algal Biotechnology
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Welcome from the Chair

5th Energies Webinar

Modelling, Simulation and Advanced Control of Microalgae Related Processes as the Key Factor to Achieve Robust and Reliable Industrial Processes

Microalgae and other photosynthetic microorganisms represent a highly promising source for food, feed, chemicals, and fuels. Europe has been leading global research and industrial deployment of microalgae-based technologies. However, despite the enormous potential and the impressive R&D effort, the industrial use of microalgae is still at its first developmental stage. A major step forward can be derived from the development and implementation of digital technologies, which are capable of automatizing and optimising culture conditions on an industrial scale. Europe has a tradition of leading research in the field of automatic control for biotechnological processes. This webinar aims to analyse the state of the art of the modelling of microalgae-related processes as a key factor in achieving robust and reliable industrial processes, and the most promising technologies to improve this area. As a result of this aim, experts in the field who are already participating in DigitAlgaesation EU project will participate on this webinar. To contribute to this field, the widespread definition and adoption of effective tools for better design and operation urgently requires skilled multidisciplinary scientists and engineers, who can develop and implement the next generation of sustainable production processes with enhanced productivity, reducing environmental impact and costs, despite the climate fluctuations that may strongly affect microalgae productivity.

Chair: Prof. Francisco Gabriel Acién Fernández

Date: 27 October 2021

Time: 10:00 am CEST | 4:00am EDT | 4:00 pm CST Asia

Webinar ID: 837 4196 2306

Webinar Secretariat:


Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Almerıa, Spain

Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Almeria. He is vice-president of European Algae Biomass Association (EABA), and a member of the International Society for Applied Phycology and the Latin American Society for Algal and Environmental Biotechnology. His major contributions to the field of the biotechnology of the microalgae are related to the improvement of photobioreactor designs, the scale-up of production systems, and the economic analysis of production processes. His most recent research has been focused on microalgae biomass valorisation, aiming to improve the economic yield of microalgae-based processes. He is the author of more than 200 scientific publications including papers, reviews and book chapters: their h index is 52. In addition, he has developed 11 patents, several of which have already been licenced to companies.

Invited Speakers

Prof. Dr. Benoit Chachuat

Faculty of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, UK

Benoit Chachuat is a Professor of Process Systems Engineering at Imperial College London. Prior to joining Imperial College in 2010, he held post-doctoral positions at INRIA Sophia-Antipolis, MIT and EPFL, and he was an Assistant Professor at McMaster University. His primary research focus is on the development of new methods and tools for the optimization and control of complex process systems. Current application areas in his research group include sustainable microalgae culture, chemicals circularity and low-carbon fuels, vaccine manufacturing and supply chains, and quality-by-design in pharmaceutical manufacturing. In 2015, he received the Outstanding Young Researcher Award from the CAST division of AIChE. He is an Associate Director of the Sargent Centre for Process System Engineering (CPSE) at Imperial College. He serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Process Control and the Journal of Optimization Theory & Applications, and sits on the Editorial Board of the recently launched Digital Chemical Engineering.

Dr. Olivier Bernard

BIOCORE, Université Côte d’Azur, INRIA, France

Olivier Bernard is Research Director at the French National Institute for research in computer science and automatic control (1998–Present). He obtained a degree in engineering from the Ecole Centrale de Lyon andreceived a master’s degree in Control Science in 1992. He obtained a Ph.D. degree in Biological Oceanography from Sorbonne University (Paris VI) in 1995, with a PhD thesis dealing with the nitrogen-limited growth of Dunaliella tertiolecta. Since 1999 he has been the vice-head of the BIOCORE research team (Control of Artificial ecosystems), which involves collaboration between biologists and control scientists. He is the author of 13 patents and more than 100 publications in scientific journals in the fields of automatic control, biotechnology, phycology, bioenergy production, metabolism modelling and lifecycle analysis. A large fraction of his activities have been dedicated to the modelling and control of microalgal-based processes.

Dr. Marcel Janssen

Bioprocess Engineering, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Marcel Janssen is Assistant Professor at the Bioprocess Engineering group of Wageningen University. He studies microalgae growth in photobioreactors with the aim of developing improved photobioreactors with improved process control. His research topics include the modelling of microalgae growth, photobioreactor design, photobioreactor control, and wastewater treatment. His research places a special emphasis on photosynthesis and light supply in microalgal cultivation systems. Under his supervision, novel approaches have been tested, such as growing microalgae in liquid foams and biofilms. He developed in-house lab-scale technology to better study microalgal growth under simulated outdoor conditions. He has cosupervised of 13 PhD students, and is currently supervising another 4 PhD students. His work is covered in 70 peer-reviewed publications.

Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Bezzo

CAPE-Lab—Computer-Aided Process Engineering Laboratory, Department of Industrial Engineering DII, University of Padova, Italy

Dr. Fabrizio Bezzo is Professor of Chemical Engineering at the Department of Industrial engineering (University of Padova, Italy). He received his degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Padova and his PhD at Imperial College London (UK). His research interests comprise process design and supply chain optimization of production systems for renewable energy and sustainable industrial processes, and the modeling and optimization of chemical and biological processes. He has published over 180 scientific papers in international research journals and conference proceedings. He cochairs the Energy Section of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering. He coordinates the H2020 ITN project "DigitAlgaesation—A knowledge-based training network for digitalisation of photosynthetic bioprocesses".

Dr. José Luis Guzmán Sánchez

Departamento de Informática, University of Almería, Spain

José Luis Guzmán Sánchez was born in Almería, Spain, March 20, 1979. He received a Computer Science Engineering degree and a European Ph.D. degree (extraordinary doctorate award) from the University of Almería, Almería, Spain, in 2002 and 2006, respectively. He is Full Professor of automatic control and system engineering at the University of Almería, where he also belongs to the Automatics, Electronics and Robotics research group. His research interests are focused on the fields of MPC techniques, PID control, and robust control with applications to mobile robots, agricultural processes, solar plants, and biotechnology. He has authored and coauthored more than 300 technical papers in international journals and conferences. He has been the main researcher of four funded national projects about the modelling, control and optimization of microalgae production in photobioreactors. He is also a researcher working on the UE H2020 SABANA and Digitalgestion projects. Furthermore, he has been a member of the Spanish IFAC association in Automatic Control since 2003, a member of the IEEE Control System Society since 2006, and of the IFAC Technical Committee on Control Education and the IEEE Technical Committee on System Identification and Adaptive Control since 2008. Currently, he is also chair of the Control Engineering group of the “Comité Español de Automática” and Vice-chair of the IFAC Technical Committee on Education.


The webinar will start at 10:00 am (CEST) 27 October 2021 and will last maximum 2 hours and a half.



Prof. Francisco Gabriel Acién Fernández


4:00 pm (CST Asia) | 10:00 am (CEST)

Prof. Dr. Benoit Chachuat

"Modeling Light-Limited Microalgae Growth for Optimization and Control"

4:05 pm (CST Asia) | 10:05 am (CEST)

Dr. Olivier Bernard

"Ingredients to be Included in a Microalgae Model for Control Purpose"

4:25 pm (CST Asia) | 10:25 am (CEST)

Dr. Marcel Jansse

"Photobioreactor Monitoring and Control – Experiences at AlgaePARC Wageningen"

4:45 pm (CST Asia) | 10:45 am (CEST)

Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Bezzo

"Model-Based Optimization of Microalgae Growth in a Semi-Batch Photobioreactor"

5:05 pm (CST Asia) | 11:05 am (CEST)

Dr. José Luis Guzmán Sánchez

"Control Approaches for Industrial Photobioreactors"

5:25 pm (CST Asia) | 11:25 am (CEST)


5:45 pm (CST Asia) | 11:45 am (CEST)

Webinar Content

On Wednesday, 27 October 2021, MDPI and the Journal Energies organized the 5th webinar on Energies, entitled " Modelling, Simulation and Advanced Control of Microalgae Related Processes as the Key Factor to Achieve Robust and Reliable Industrial Processes". Chaired by Prof. Dr. Gabriel Acién from the University of Almería, Spain, the webinar discussed both fundamental and applied aspects of microalgae cultivation processes, focusing on state-of-the-art modelling and control.

The webinar showed how the modelling of the different phenomena taking place is a necessary step to optimize process design and operation, especially by implementing effective control strategies. This is the goal of the EU ITN-MSCA-2020 DigitAlgaesation project, which aims at developing advanced modelling, monitoring and control approaches to bridge the digital gap in current production processes, and at providing tools and strategies for improving productivity and sustainability of microalgae cultivation systems.

Five experts presented their research: Prof. Dr. Benoit Chachuat, Dr. Olivier Bernard, Dr. Marcel Janssen, Prof. Dr. Fabrizio Bezzo, and Dr. José Luis Guzmán Sánchez. A Q&A session was conducted at the end of the webinar to answer any questions submitted by live online audience.

The webinar was offered via Zoom, and registration was required for attendance. The full recording can be found below. To stay updated on upcoming Energies webinars organized by MDPI, be sure to sign up for our newsletter by clicking on “Subscribe” at the top of the page.

Relevant Topical Collections and Special Issues

Relevant Topical Collections:

Bio-Energy Reviews
Editors: Fernando Rubiera González and Covadonga Pevida García

Feature Papers in Bio-Energy
Editors: Fernando Rubiera González and Covadonga Pevida García

Sections and Collections in Energies

Relevant Special Issues:

Modeling, Optimization and Control in Algal Biotechnology
Guest Editors: Štěpán Papáček, Francisco Gabriel Acién Fernández and José M. Fernández-Sevilla
Accepting submissions until 30 October 2021

Conception, Modelling, Control, and Intensification of Photobioreactors Applied to the Valorization of Microalgae
Guest Editor: Jack Legrand
Accepting submissions until 30 November 2021

Improvement of Photobiological Hydrogen Production
Guest Editor: John C. Willison
Accepting submissions until 31 December 2021

Special Issues in Energies

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