A method to recover algal biomass using membrane technologies
Sanmiguel Herrera, Valentina
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Environmental awareness has increased significantly during the past years and the need to replace fossil fuels with a more sustainable alternative has become a priority in the modern society. Algal biofuels have shown to have a good productivity compared to other biomass feedstock options but the high cost- low-efficiency cultivation process has proven to be a challenge. The purpose of this project is to use membrane technologies to recover algal biomass more efficiently. This technology would significantly reduce the water usage and energy input to the algal biomass production process. In this study, the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) model derived using the Surface Element Integration (SEI) technique was used to identify the interaction energy between 3 microalgae species and 5 hollow fiber membrane materials. The results suggested that Scendesmus Obliquous would have the lowest energy barrier (-2.7834 kT) with a Poly(vinylbutyral) (PVB) hollow fiber membrane, therefore it would have a greater initial number of algal cells attaching to the membrane, compared to the other microalgae and membrane materials studied. Further work needs to be completed in order to integrate algae growth and biomass harvesting into the actual model.