Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering

, Volume 37, Issue 7, pp 1249–1259 | Cite as

Continuous harvest of marine microalgae using electrolysis: effect of pulse waveform of polarity exchange

  • Jungmin Kim
  • Byung-Gon Ryu
  • You-Jin Lee
  • Jong-In Han
  • Woong Kim
  • Ji-Won Yang
Original Paper


Advances in harvesting of microalgae are needed for the efficient and economical production of microalgal biodiesel. In addition to improvements in recovery efficiency, developments in harvest technology should focus on reducing the adverse impact of subsequent processes, and should also allow water recycling. We investigated a continuous electrochemical approach for microalgal biodiesel production. Instead of conventional DC, pulsed DC was applied as a method of polarity exchange and its performance was analyzed in terms of recovery efficiency, electricity consumption, and residual Al concentration. Under optimized pulsed-DC conditions, 32 % less electricity was required and 7 % less Al was remained after continuous harvesting and there was no decrease in recovery efficiency compared to the continuous harvesting by conventional DC. We also examined the effect of this new protocol on biodiesel quality and water reusability. There were no differences in the microalgal oil composition before and after electrolytic harvesting. In addition, the harvested oil quality, based on four key parameters, was superior to that produced by other terrestrial crops. Lastly, there was no retardation of growth in recycled medium relative to that in fresh medium.


Microalgal harvest Nannochloropsis oceanica Polarity exchange Pulsed DC Response surface methodology 



This work was supported by the Advanced Biomass R&D Center (ABC) of Global Frontier Project funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (ABC-2011-K000908). This work was also supported by the New and Renewable Energy of the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning (KETEP) grant funded by the Korea government Ministry of Trade, industry and Energy (No. 2012T100201665).

Supplementary material

449_2013_1097_MOESM1_ESM.doc (360 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 360 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biomolecular EngineeringKAISTDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.Environmental and Energy ProgramKAISTDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute 12Changwon-siRepublic of Korea
  4. 4.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringKAISTDaejeonRepublic of Korea
  5. 5.Advanced Biomass R&D CenterKAISTDaejeonRepublic of Korea

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