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Microalgae harvesting by pH adjusted coagulation-flocculation, recycling of the coagulant and the growth media

Das, Probir, Thaher, Mahmoud Ibrahim, Abdul Hakim, Mohammed Abdul Quadir Mohd, Al-Jabri, Hareb Mohammed S.J., Alghasal, Ghamza Saed H.S.
Bioresource technology 2016 v.216 pp. 824-829
Scenedesmus, biomass, culture media, energy, ferric chloride, harvesting, iron, microalgae, pH, wastewater
Coagulation-flocculation can be considered as one of the least energy intensive microalgae biomass harvesting processes. However, cost of the coagulant and biomass contamination are two critical issues that need to be considered. In this study, ferric chloride (72–96mg/L) was used to effectively harvest Scenedesmus sp. (530mg/L) – grown in BG-11 media and wastewater. Reducing the culture pH below 6.5, greatly improved the harvesting efficiency. Acidic solution (pH 1.0) was very effective to recover (almost 90%) the associated iron from the harvested biomass. Scenedesmus sp. was able to grow in the supernatant and utilize the residual iron in it. Iron extracted solution, with a supplementation of 9.8mg/L ferric chloride, was able to achieve similar harvesting efficiency. The potential recovery of iron from the harvested biomass and its reuse in the harvesting can improve the biomass quality for subsequent downstream processing while reducing the cost.