Dewatering of microalgal cultures: A major bottleneck to algae-based fuels
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Microalgae dewatering is a major obstruction to industrial-scale processing of microalgae for biofuel production. The dilute nature of harvested microalgal cultures creates a huge operational cost during dewatering, thereby, rendering algae-based fuels less economically attractive. Currently there is no superior method of dewatering microalgae. A technique that may result in a greater algal biomass may have drawbacks such as a high capital cost or high energy consumption. The choice of which harvesting technique to apply will depend on the species of microalgae and the final product desired. Algal properties such as a large cell size and the capability of the microalgae to autoflocculate can simplify the dewatering process. This article reviews and addresses the various technologies currently used for dewatering microalgal cultures along with a comparative study of the performances of the different technologies. © 2010 American Institute of Physics.
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