Algae Processing

Ultrasonic separation of microalgae at 7 seconds

Harvesting and dewatering of microalgae is one of the most daunting separation challenges faced in producing renewable biofuels from algae, as conventional technologies use more energy than are produced by the algae or are simply too costly. The Bioprocessing Separations Consortium has capabilities to address these challenges, for example, through combining low-energy ultrasonic separation with improved membrane filtration, that can achieve low-energy ultrasonic harvesting ten times more effectively than current commercial ultrasonic separators. Other applicable technologies include cell concentration/dewatering using a recyclable flocculant, low-energy ultrasonic separation for the initial dewatering, and advanced membrane filtration to facilitate the final dewatering. Furthermore, the consortium has worked towards removal of lipids and toxic organics from the aqueous phase after solvent extraction using a superhydrophobic advanced membrane.