A.R. Völkel, H.B. Hsieh, N. Chang, K. Melde, A. Kole
This paper describes a novel technology for dewatering of algae for biofuel production and other applications. This hydrodynamic separation (HDS) technology uses customized fluid flow patterns in a curved channel to focus suspended particles into a concentrated band near one channel wall. A splitter at the end of the channel divides the flow into a clean effluent and a concentrate stream. The particle focusing is caused purely by hydrodynamic forces, which are proportional to the size of the particles, but independent of their density. This allows us to concentrate particles with densities equal or close to that of the surrounding fluid, which makes this technology especially relevant for concentration of algae since it does not require a physical barrier or excessive centrifugal forces. Advantages of this technology over conventional practice include: small foot print, low energy requirement, rapid process, and continuous flow operation. Added benefits include no moving parts, high scalability, high modularity in construction, and low cost in materials and TCO. This technology has been tested on many raw water matrices.