Algae is a wide-ranging term covering more than 300,000 diverse photosynthetic organisms that are mostly found in aquatic settings. From single cell microalgae all the way up to giant kelp, algae is such a broad term that many still argue over its definition. However, what’s certain about it is that it can have many beneficial uses if algae harvesting technology can successfully grow, harvest and process enough of these versatile organisms in an economically and environmentally efficient manner.
Algae has incredible reproductive capabilities, which makes it an excellent and abundant fertilizer, source of nutrition, pollution scrubber and even energy source. Interestingly, the financial break-even point for algae as a cost-effective source for fish meal and biofuel seems to be fast approaching. In fact, by some estimates, it’s already here.
Algae Harvesting Separation
While the potential of algae is huge, the problem remains that to properly harvest it for most commercial uses, you must first dewater it — i.e., separate it from the aqueous medium it grows in. And while algae grows two to 10 times faster than land-based crops used as sources for biofuels, the process required to separate and purify it and the oils it produces — from which biofuel is made — has up until very recently been too costly to make industrial-scale algae production commercially viable.
Fortunately, concurrent with increasing algae’s growth and productivity, techniques to harvest it that require less energy and overall costs have been making significant strides. To understand where these breakthroughs are occurring, it’s helpful to briefly look at today’s three most popular algae harvesting processes.
Flocculation: In flocculation, a chemical flocculant is added to an algae and water mix that then causes the algae to aggregate, or clump together.
Microscreening: In microscreening, also referred to as membrane separation, the water and algae mix is run through a filtration system, typically in the shape of a funnel.
Centrifugation: In centrifugation, a mechanized form of separation occurs, often by use of a continuous-flow centrifuge.
Screeners for Algae Harvesting
With years of experience manufacturing vibratory screening equipment for a host of industries — including food and beverage, chemical, petrochemical and biofuel production — VibraScreener™ uniquely understands the expectations involved in designing and supporting an algae harvest screener that’s both robust and cost-effective enough to warrant profitable commercial use.
Unlike the process of flocculation that requires the extra cost of chemical additives, or microscreening, which usually results in the fouling of membranes, VibraScreener™ has designed its equipment such as the Dynamic Screener™ and Ranger Separator™ to operate both efficiently and effectively. What’s more, all of our equipment dismantles easily for thorough cleaning, so fouling isn’t a problem, and our machines lead the industry for low noise production and maximum reliability during operation.
Enjoy High-Quality Equipment and Expert Advice From VibraScreener™
Ready for algae harvesting with screening equipment, a service department and customer support designed around your needs? We have years of experience in designing, supplying and supporting screening and filtration systems for everyone from Fortune 500 processing facilities to independent operators. To find the right vibratory separator or industrial screener for your purposes, contact us or sign up to speak with a screening expert today.