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A review of the harvesting of micro-algae for biofuel production

A review of the harvesting of micro-algae for biofuel production

Milledge, John J. ORCID: 0000-0003-0252-6711 and Heaven, Sonia (2012) A review of the harvesting of micro-algae for biofuel production. Reviews in Environmental Science and Biotechnology, 12 (2). pp. 165-178. ISSN 1569-1705 (Print), 1572-9826 (Online) (doi:

10506_MILLEDGE_PDF_of_harvesting_review_accepted_2013_(AAM).pdf - Accepted Version
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Many researchers consider efficient harvesting is the major challenge of commercialising micro-algal biofuel. Although micro-algal biomass can be ‘energy rich’, the growth of algae in dilute suspension at around 0.02–0.05 % dry solids poses considerable challenges in achieving a viable energy balance in micro-algal biofuel process operations. Additional challenges of micro-algae harvesting come from the small size of micro-algal cells, the similarity of density of the algal cells to the growth medium, the negative surface charge on the algae and the algal growth rates which require frequent harvesting compared to terrestrial plants. Algae can be harvested by a number of methods; sedimentation, flocculation, flotation, centrifugation and filtration or a combination of any of these. This paper reviews the various methods of harvesting and dewatering micro-algae for the production of biofuel. There appears to be no one method or combination of harvesting methods suited to all micro-algae and harvesting method will have a considerable influence on the design and operation of both upstream and downstream processes in an overall micro-algal biofuel production process.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: [1] The attached version is the Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) version. The final publication is available at Springer via [2] Please note that where the full text version provided on GALA is not the final published version, the version made available will be the most up-to-date full-text (author's accepted manuscript or post-print) version as provided by the author(s) and may be subject to embargo. Where possible, or if citing, it is recommended that the publisher’s (definitive) version be consulted to ensure any subsequent changes to the text are noted. [3] First published online: 31 October 2012. Published in print: June 2013.
Uncontrolled Keywords: microalgae, sedimentation, flocculation, flotation, centrifugation, filtration
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
T Technology > TP Chemical technology
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Science
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:52

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