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Membrane applications for microalgae cultivation and harvesting: a review
- Drexler, Ivy L. C., Yeh, Daniel H.
- Re/views in environmental science and bio/technology 2014 v.13 no.4 pp. 487-504
- artificial membranes, harvesting, microalgae, energy, dewatering, solutes, filtration, biofuels, cost effectiveness, feedstocks, biomass, fouling, recycling
- With renewed interest in microalgae due to their potential for biofuel and bioproducts production, efficient cultivation and harvesting mechanisms are needed to increase the economic competitiveness of microalgal products against traditional sources. With pore sizes ranging from microns to angstroms, membranes provide tailored functions for solid/liquid separation (cell retention, biomass concentration and dewatering), gas/liquid separation (gas delivery and removal), and solute/liquid separation (bioproduct recovery, feedstock preparation and effluent recycling) that are problematic or not possible with other technologies. Existing knowledge on membrane systems used in other disciplines, such as environmental engineering, marine science, and biomedicine, can be applied to algae production. Though membranes have great potential to facilitate cultivation and harvesting, challenges in energy reduction and fouling mitigation need to be overcome for long-term, cost-effective application.