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Novel method for improving algae harvesting

Award Information

Department of Agriculture
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2011 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Phycal LLC
51 Alpha Park Highland Heights, OH 44143-0000
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2011
Title: Novel method for improving algae harvesting
Agency: USDA
Contract: 2011-00347
Award Amount: $100,000.00


Algae are one of the most, if not the most, productive biomass crops known and have a photosynthetic efficiency almost twice that of the most productive terrestrial crop, sugarcane. However, algae are not without disadvantages relative to terrestrial crops, and do require their own novel technical solutions. Characteristically, microalgae are aquatic, very small (1 to 10 micron diameter), very dilute (0.01 to 0.5% w/v), have similar density to water, and generally do not naturally coagulate. Furthermore, before downstream use, the algae culture must usually be concentrated to 1 to 90% w/v (slurry to dry flake). Due to the dilute growth conditions of algae, large volumes of culture must be grown then concentrated making the harvest and concentration of algae an important but challenging task. While all of the traditional dewatering methods such as sedimentation, dissolved air flotation, centrifugation, filtration, flocculation, and drying, are moderately functional and low-risk technical solutions, none is a complete solution. Each has significant tradeoffs in cost, land requirement, speed, energy intensity, chemical requirements, collection efficiency, and concentration efficiency. It is anticipated that we will be better able to gauge the commercial viability of an LDA for algae dewatering and possibly for other potential applications. As an algal oil production company, Phycal has most exhaustively evaluated the LDA for application to the dewatering of microalgae. However, at its core, an LDA is a particle separator that has applications in biomedical, blood separation, water treatment and purification, fuel filtering, and other applications

Principal Investigator:

Christopher Lane
(440) 460-0586

Business Contact:

F.C. Thomas Allnutt
(440) 460-0586
Small Business Information at Submission:

51 ALPHA PARK Verona, OH 44143-2202

EIN/Tax ID: 208471146
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No