Novel Integrated Technology Incorporating Anti-fouling Membranes to Dewater Algal Harvests

Period of Performance: 06/08/2015 - 03/07/2016

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Helios-nrg, Llc
1576 Sweet Home Road Array
Amherst, NY 14228
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Dewatering algae from very dilute cultures 0.03-0.1% solids loading) to 20-30% loading is essential for commercial viability. A new technology that can significantly reduce energy and capital requirements for de-watering is required for algae to become economically viable for bio- fuels and other markets. This project is aimed at the development of an integrated dewatering process that will substantially reduce the energy requirement and capital cost for algae de-watering. Phase 1 will demonstrate technical feasibility on lab scale. Phase 2 will advance technology to pilot scale. In Phase, the technical feasibility of a multi-step dewatering process will be demonstrated including preferred conditions in each step and solids loading after each step. Performance is enhanced by modifying commercial filtration membranes to minimize fouling. Preliminary process economics is performed. Commercial applications of the new technology include algae dewatering for bio-fuels production, for blending into feed for livestock and aqua-culture, and for nutraceuticals. The significantly reduced energy and capital is an enabler for the production of renewable bio-fuels via algae. This will reduce CO2 emissions and import of petroleum. Another important benefit is that the water extracted is recycled to the algae farm thus reducing water requirements by over 90%. The technology can also be used in the waste water treatment industry. By enabling the large new applications mentioned above, it can create new industries and jobs.