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Processes 2018, 6(4), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr6040028

Steam Explosion and Vibrating Membrane Filtration to Improve the Processing Cost of Microalgae Cell Disruption and Fractionation

1
Catalonia Institute for Energy Research, IREC, Marcel·lí Domingo 2, 43007 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
2
Chemical Engineering Department, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Av. Països Catalans 26, 43007 Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 February 2018 / Revised: 10 March 2018 / Accepted: 20 March 2018 / Published: 22 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Novel Membrane Technologies for Traditional Industrial Processes)
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Abstract

The aim of this study is to explore an innovative downstream route for microalgae processing to reduce cost production. Experiments have been carried out on cell disruption and fractionation stages to recover lipids, sugars, and proteins. Steam explosion and dynamic membrane filtration were used as unit operations. The species tested were Nannochloropsis gaditana, Chlorella sorokiniana, and Dunaliella tertiolecta with different cell wall characteristics. Acid-catalysed steam explosion permitted cell disruption, as well as the hydrolysis of carbohydrates and partial hydrolysis of proteins. This permitted a better access to non-polar solvents for lipid extraction. Dynamic filtration was used to moderate the impact of fouling. Filtration enabled two streams: A permeate containing water and monosaccharides and a low-volume retentate containing the lipids and proteins. The necessary volume of solvent to extract the lipids is thus much lower. An estimation of operational costs of both steam explosion and membrane filtration was performed. The results show that the steam explosion operation cost varies between 0.005 $/kg and 0.014 $/kg of microalgae dry sample, depending on the cost of fuel. Membrane filtration cost in fractionation was estimated at 0.12 $/kg of microalgae dry sample. View Full-Text
Keywords: cell disruption; costs; dynamic membrane filtration; fractionation; microalgae; steam explosion cell disruption; costs; dynamic membrane filtration; fractionation; microalgae; steam explosion
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Lorente, E.; Hapońska, M.; Clavero, E.; Torras, C.; Salvadó, J. Steam Explosion and Vibrating Membrane Filtration to Improve the Processing Cost of Microalgae Cell Disruption and Fractionation. Processes 2018, 6, 28.

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