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Lab selected for ultrasonic technology

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The National Alliance for Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts (NAABB) has selected the lab’s Ultrasonic Algae Harvesting technology for Phase II development. The technology is based on LANL’s R&D 100 Award-winning Ultrasonic Algal Biofuel Harvester. Research and development to refine the technology at lab-scale has been in progress through NAABB since April 2010.

Lab-scale experiments completed in October 2011 showed that the technology is cost effective and energy efficient. Phase II will be the design and development of a harvester unit that will operate at 100 liters per hour minimum algal culture feed rate. The scaled-up ultrasonic algae harvesting unit will be built and tested in the field by early 2013. NAABB’s goal is to produce new technologies that can be implemented by their commercial partners and others developing the algal biofuel industry.

Algae usually are grown under dilute cultivation conditions in a typical cell density of less than 1 gram per liter of water (999 parts water to 1 part algae). Adding to the challenge of removing so much water is scale. The optimal size of the commercial “open-pond” algae production facility is envisioned at more than a million liters of culture.


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