Authors: Lars Bjorndal, Ann C. Wilkie
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ann C. Wilkie
College: College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Algae cultivation has multiple potential applications including biofuel production, wastewater treatment, and carbon capture. However, dewatering and dehydration remain a challenge for commercialization. Research has focused mainly on microalgae, but filamentous algae have recently gained attention due to their larger size and thus relative ease of harvesting. The drying mechanics of filamentous algae has yet to be fully understood and optimized. This study investigated the drying behavior of the filamentous algae Oedogonium at 50℃, 60℃ and 70℃. The moisture content of triplicate samples of microalgae and Oedogonium (intact filaments, fractured filaments, and aggregated forms) was measured during drying. Intact Oedogonium filaments were fractured using a food blender. Results indicated little difference between drying microalgae and intact Oedogonium. At 50℃, fractured Oedogonium filaments maintained an average drying rate of -0.56±0.07% per minute for 165 minutes compared to -0.51±0.07% per minute for the microalgae and the intact and aggregated Oedogonium. However, this drying effect decreased significantly at 60℃, and at 70℃ all algae dried at similar rates. Thus, fracturing the Oedogonium filaments resulted in faster dehydration at 50℃. Reducing the duration and energy cost of drying helps to facilitate commercialization of algae cultivation.