Flotation: A promising microalgae harvesting and dewatering technology for biofuels production

Theoneste Ndikubwimana, Jingyu Chang, Zongyuan Xiao, Wenyao Shao, Xianhai Zeng, I-Son Ng, Yinghua Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Microalgal biomass as renewable energy source is believed to be of great potential for reliable and sustainable biofuels production. However, microalgal biomass production is pinned by harvesting and dewatering stage thus hindering the developing and growing microalgae biotechnology industries. Flotation technology applied in mineral industry could be potentially applied in microalgae harvesting and dewatering, however substantial knowledge on different flotation units is essential. This paper presents an overview on different flotation units as promising cost-effective technologies for microalgae harvesting thus bestowing for further research in development and commercialization of microalgae based biofuels. Dispersed air flotation was found to be less energy consuming. Moreover, Jameson cell flotation and dispersed ozone flotation are believed to be energy efficient microalgae flotation approaches. Microalgae harvesting and dewatering by flotation is still at embryonic stage, therefore extended studies with the focus on life cycle assessment, sustainability of the flotation unit, optimization of the operating parameters using different algal species is imperative. Though there are a number of challenges in microalgae harvesting and dewatering, with well designed and developed cultivation, harvesting/dewatering, extraction and conversion technologies, progressively, microalgae technology will be of great potential for biological carbon sequestration, biofuels and biochemicals production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-326
Number of pages12
JournalBiotechnology Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Molecular Medicine


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