Lars Bjorndal

Lars Bjorndal

Optimization of Algal Dehydration Kinetics


Lars Bjorndal and Dr. Ann C. Wilkie


Ann C. Wilkie


College of Agricultural and Life Sciences


Algae cultivation has multiple environmentally-oriented applications including biofuel production, wastewater treatment, and carbon capture. However, costs associated with extraction and dehydration remain a challenge for viable commercialization. Research has focused mainly on microalgae, but filamentous algae such as Oedogonium have gained attention due to their larger size and resulting ease of harvesting. Oedogonium has also been seen to occasionally self-entangle and form spherical aggregates which further facilitates harvesting. These aggregates generally dry slower than unaggregated Oedogonium. This study investigated drying optimization by using a blender to reduce the aggregates to a slurry and fracturing the Oedogonium filaments. Blended and unblended triplicates of aggregates with spherical diameters of 4-6mm, 9-11mm, and 13-15mm were dried in an oven at 50℃, and the blended samples dried 29%, 6%, and 41% faster, respectively, than the unblended aggregates. Further, while the total drying times of the 4-6mm and 9-11mm unblended aggregates were relatively similar at 255min and 240min, respectively, the total drying time of the 13-15mm aggregates was 330min, which is significantly longer. These findings confirm that processing aggregated Oedogonium can significantly reduce its drying time and that, if no processing is done, total drying time will greatly increase when aggregates exceed a certain size.


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Research Pitch

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