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Optimization of multi-stage thickening of biomass in a demonstrative full-scale microalgae-based wastewater treatment system

Abstract: This study gathers the results of the operation and optimization of the thickening of microalgal biomass produced at demonstrative scale in photobioreactors fed with agricultural runoff and domestic wastewater. The optimization was conducted during two months. The system consisted in two gravity thickeners connected in series in a multi-stage approach. The objective of thickening was to concentrate the microalgae grown in photobioreactors (total solids (TS) concentration of 0.1?1 g/L) into a biomass with 20 g/L of TS, which was considered optimal for the subsequent anaerobic digestion process. First, the utilization of one single thickener alone allowed to achieve a concentration factor (CF) of 1.9 and recovery efficiency (RE) of 28%. However, the final concentration of TS in the thickened biomass (6.4 g/L) was still much lower than the target concentration. The installation of the second thickener connected in series with the first one significantly improved the overall performance. Indeed, a TS concentration of 26.5 g/L was finally achieved, with an overall CF of 3.6. The results of the study suggest that the multi-stage thickening process is a suitable strategy and it is highly advisable to achieve a successful microalgal biomass thickening at full-scale. In addition, other three points have been identified as key factors to be taken into account for biomass tickening: proper adjustment of the purge flowrate, coordination between purges times and volumes in the different stages, and proper adjustment of the operation of the scrapers.

Otras publicaciones de la misma revista o congreso con autores/as de la Universidad de Cantabria

 Fuente: Separation and Purification Technology, 2022, 281, 119830

Editorial: Elsevier

 Fecha de publicación: 15/01/2022

Nº de páginas: 11

Tipo de publicación: Artículo de Revista

 DOI: 10.1016/j.seppur.2021.119830

ISSN: 1383-5866,1873-3794

 Proyecto español: RYC2018-025514-I

Url de la publicación: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seppur.2021.119830