Improved algal harvesting using suspended air flotation

Water Environ Res. 2009 Jul;81(7):702-8. doi: 10.2175/106143009x407474.


Current methods to remove algae from a liquid medium are energy intensive and expensive. This study characterized algae contained within a wastewater oxidation pond and sought to identify a more efficient harvesting technique. Analysis of oxidation pond wastewater revealed that algae, consisting primarily of Chlorella and Scenedesmus, composed approximately 80% of the solids inventory during the study period. Results demonstrated that suspended air flotation (SAF) could harvest algae with a lower air:solids (A/S) ratio, lower energy requirements, and higher loading rates compared to dissolved air flotation (DAF) (P < 0.001). Identification of a more efficient algal harvesting system may benefit wastewater treatment plants by enabling cost effective means to reduce solids content of the final effluent. Furthermore, use of SAF to harvest commercially grown Chlorella and Scenedesmus may reduce manufacturing costs of algal-based products such as fuel, fertilizer, and fish food.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biodegradation, Environmental
  • Eukaryota*
  • Industrial Waste
  • Solubility
  • Waste Disposal, Fluid / methods
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Industrial Waste