A foam column system harvesting freshwater algae for biodiesel production: An experiment and process model evaluations

Shurooq T. Al-Humairi, Jonathan G.M. Lee, Adam P. Harvey, Ali Dawood Salman, Tatjána Juzsakova, B. Van, Phuoc–Cuong C. Le, D. Duong La, Arvind Kumar Mungray, Pau Loke Show, D. Duc Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the application of the mathematical model of drift flux to the experimental results of the effect of cationic trimethyl-ammonium bromide (CTAB)-aided continuous foam flotation harvesting on the lipid content in Chlorella vulgaris microalgae. An experiment was conducted to determine the effect of the operating conditions on the enrichment factor (EF) and percentage recovery efficiency (%RE), where the flow rates at the inlet and bottom outlet remained constant. Data for the binary system (without algae) and ternary system (with algae) in an equal-area foam column show that the EF decreases linearly with increasing initial CTAB concentrations ranging from 30 to 75 mg/L for three levels of the studied air volumetric flow rate range (1–3) L/min. The percentage harvesting efficiency increased with increasing initial CTAB concentration and air volumetric flow rate to 96 % in the binary systems and 94 % in the ternary systems. However, in the foam column with the riser used in the three systems, a lower volume of liquid foam in the upward outlet stream resulted in a lower RE% than that of the column without the riser. The objective function of EF for the system with algae increased when the initial CTAB concentration was increased from 30 to 45 mg/L in the foam column with a riser for all air flow rates, and after 45 mg/L, a sudden drop in the microalgae EF was observed. In the comparison between the foam column with and without the riser for the system with algae, the optimum EF was 145 for the design of the column with the riser and 139 for the column without the riser.

Original languageBritish English
Article number160702
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2023


  • Algae biodiesel
  • Attachment efficiency
  • Continuous foam flotation
  • Drift-flux
  • Ultimate recovery


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