Nannochloropsis oceanica harvested using electrocoagulation with alternative electrodes – An innovative approach on potential biomass applications

Bioresource Technology

Daniel Figueiredo, Alice Ferreira, Pedro Quelhas, Peter S. C. Schulze, Luisa Gouveia

Electrocoagulation is a promising technology to harvest microalgal biomass. However, the commonly used aluminum electrodes release undesired salts that decrease biomass value. In this study, alternative iron, zinc, and magnesium electrodes and operational parameters pH, time and current density were studied to harvest Nannochloropsis oceanica. For recovery efficiency and concentration factor the initial pH was most important using iron electrodes, while time and current density were more relevant using zinc and magnesium electrodes. Optimal parameters resulted in biomass recovery efficiencies > 95%, biomass was concentrated 2.8–7.2 times and contained 15.7–29.1% ashes. Elemental analysis revealed metal salts in harvested biomass resulting from electrode corrosion. Finally, ash contents could be reduced by 65% using EDTA as a chelating agent. The electrocoagulation harvested microalgal biomass enriched in essential metals may be a promising bioresource for agricultural growth inducers, or functional ingredients for feed.

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