Low-energy and low-cost separation of microalgae from water is important to the economics of microalgae harvesting and processing. Flotation under vacuum using a vacuum gas lift for microalgae harvesting was investigated for different airflow rates, bubble sizes, salinities and harvest volumes. Harvesting efficiency (HE) and concentration factor (CF) of the vacuum gas lift increased by around 50% when the airflow rate was reduced from 20 to 10Lmin-1. Reduced bubble size multiplied HE and CF 10times when specific microbubble diffusers were used or when the salinity of the water was increased from 0‰ to 40‰. The reduction in harvest volume from 100 to 1L increased the CF from 10 to 130. An optimized vacuum gas lift could allow partial microalgae harvesting using less than 0.2kWhkg-1DW, thus reducing energy costs 10-100 times compared to complete harvesting processes, albeit at the expense of a less concentrated biomass harvest. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research
Choose a citation style from the tabs below