Development of a low-cost harvesting technology could be an effective approach for making microalgal biofuel commercially feasible. The use of acid mine drainage (AMD) to coagulate/flocculate biomass is a cost-effective strategy for addressing this challenge. Here, settling kinetics, flocculation efficiency (FE), and concentration factor (CF) of two morphologically different microalgae species, Scenedesmus obliquus and Chlorella vulgaris, were investigated with respect to AMD dosage (5% and 10%) and medium pH (7 and 9). AMD was collected from two different sites, AMD (1) and AMD (2), and increasing its dosage to 10% improved the settling rate, FE, and CF of the floc. At 10% AMD (1) dosage and pH 9, the highest rate constants (k2) for the second order equations were 6.65 × 10-2 and 40 × 10-2 L mg-1·min-1 for S. obliquus and C. vulgaris, respectively; at 10% AMD (2), k2 values were 4.22 × 10-2 and 4.76 × 10-2 L mg-1 min-1, respectively. Similarly, FE/CF values were 89%/25 for S. obliquus and 93%/29 for C. vulgaris with 10% AMD (1); and 81%/17 and 79%/17, respectively, with 10% AMD (2). AMD effectively removed 99.80% of Fe3+, 99.99% of Al3+, 94% of Ca2+, 84% of Mg2+ and all of Na+ and K+ ions from the supernatant. The results of kinetics, EF, and CF measurements indicate that AMDs, naturally rich in iron and aluminum ions, could provide a feasible option for the harvesting of microalgal biomass for biofuel generation.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Dong-A University research fund.
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- Acid mine drainage
- Concentration factor
- Flocculation efficiency
- Microalgal biomass
- Settling kinetics