Improving electrocoagulation floatation for harvesting microalgae

Landels, A, Beacham, TA, Evans, CT, Carnovale, G, Raikova, S, Cole, IS, Goddard, P, Chuck, C and Allen, MJ 2019 Improving electrocoagulation floatation for harvesting microalgae. Algal Research, 39. 101446.

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Electro-coagulation floatation (ECF) is a foam-floatation dewatering method that has been shown to be a highly effective, rapid, and scalable separation methodology. In this manuscript, an in-depth analysis of the gas and flocculant levels observed during the process is provided, with microbubbles observed in the 5–80μm size range at a concentration of 102–103 bubbles mL−1. Electrolysis of microalgae culture was then observed, demonstrating both effective separation using aluminium electrodes (nine microalgal species tested, 1–40μm size range, motile and non-motile, marine and freshwater), and sterilisation of culture through bleaching with inert titanium electrodes. Atomic force microscopy was used to visualise floc formation in the presence and absence of algae, showing nanoscale structures on the magnitude of 40–400nm and entrapped microalgal cells. Improvements to aid industrial biotechnology processing were investigated: protein-doping was found to improve foam stability without inducing cell lysis, and an oxalate buffer wash regime was found to dissolve the flocculant whilst producing no observable difference in the final algal lipid or pigment profiles, leaving the cells viable at the end of the process. ECF separated microalgal culture had an algal biomass loading of 13% and as such wasideal for direct down-stream processing through hydrothermal liquefaction. Highbio-crude yieldswere achieved, though this was reduced slightly on addition of the Al(OH)3 after ECF, with carbon being distributed away to the aqueous and solid residue phases. The amenability and compatibility of ECF to integration with, or replacement of, existing centrifugation and settling processes suggests this process may be of significant interest to the biotechnology industry.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Additional Keywords: Electro-coagulation floatation Microalgae Separation Microbubble Flocculant High speed atomic force microscopy Hydrothermal liquefaction
Divisions: Plymouth Marine Laboratory > Science Areas > Marine Biochemistry and Observations
Depositing User: S Hawkins
Date made live: 17 Oct 2019 11:40
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2020 10:00

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