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Flotation of microalgae grown in photobioreactors fed with vinasse pre-treated by coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation or microfiltration, aiming biodiesel production

Grant number: 11/23891-2
Support type:Regular Research Grants
Duration: June 01, 2012 - November 30, 2014
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Sanitary Engineering - Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment
Principal Investigator:Marco Antonio Penalva Reali
Grantee:Marco Antonio Penalva Reali
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Assoc. researchers:Mirna Helena Regali Seleghim


With increasing environmental concern regarding the urban impacts on global warming besides the scarcity of fossil fuels, biofuels are rising as promising renewable energy sources. In this scenario, the microalgae have advantage because they use CO2 as a carbon source, and they can be grown in the sewage or even in some industrial wastewater. This project aim to evaluate an efficient sequential system for the separation and thickening of algal biomass produced in photobioreactors by using the technique of dissolved air flotation associated with centrifugation, in order to dewater the algae biomass to the subsequent steps of biodiesel production. It's also a purpose of this project to evaluate the possibility of use vinasse - after being physico-chemically pre-treated by coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation or by tangential microfiltration - as grown medium for the microalgae Chlorella vulgaris. Laboratory scale photobioreactors will be used associated with a system of separation and thickening of algal biomass by dissolved air flotation, followed by centrifugation. With the development of this research it will be possible to obtain important information for the project of: i) a physical-chemical system of pre-treatment of vinasse by coagulation, flocculation and sedimentation or tangential microfiltration aiming to use the vinasse as a culture medium for microalgae grown in photobioreactors; ii) efficient units of dissolved air flotation, used for the separation and thickening of the algal biomass generated in photobioreactors; and, iii) optimized parameters for an efficient operation of centrifuges applied for the algae biomass dewatering aiming to prepare it for the subsequent biodiesel production process. (AU)