An energy and resource efficient alkaline flocculation and sedimentation process for harvesting of Chromochloris zofingiensis biomass
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2020
Harvesting microalgal cultures is often energetically intensive and costly. To improve efficiencies, a two-step harvesting method utilising alkaline flocculation and sedimentation to pre-concentrate cultures can be used prior to centrifugation. When applied to the microalga Chromochloris zofingiensis, high rates of sedimentation (>90%) were found at low concentrations of base (<10 mM), with the addition of magnesium to the media (via NaOH/MgSO4 or Ca(OH)2/Mg(OH)2) to form Mg(OH)2. The process was scaled to 180 L, where sedimentation was as efficient as that achieved at bench scale. Characterisation of the harvested biomass showed comparable composition (following neutralisation of pH) to biomass recovered solely by centrifugation. The alternative two-step processes were assessed for environmental impacts and cost, which indicated that a two-step harvesting generally performs better than centrifugation alone, but that the locally available electricity source is a critical parameter for optimal solution.