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ERDC reports Chautauqua Lake HABITATS research results

Published Oct. 7, 2020
Aerial view of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researchers as they perform preliminary flow and operations studies on a new system for algae interception and treatment on Chautauqua Lake, N.Y. The ERDC researchers worked with Elastec, Inc. to build the initial prototype this summer. ERDC collaborated with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) scientists and industry partners to study harmful algal bloom mitigation technology in Chautauqua Lake from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

Aerial view of U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researchers as they perform preliminary flow and operations studies on a new system for algae interception and treatment on Chautauqua Lake, N.Y. The ERDC researchers worked with Elastec, Inc. to build the initial prototype this summer. ERDC collaborated with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) scientists and industry partners to study harmful algal bloom mitigation technology in Chautauqua Lake from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Operational Water Research team leader, Dr. Martin Page, directs the lead boats during preliminary flow testing of a floating version of the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception Treatment and Transformation System. ERDC collaborated with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation scientists and industry partners to study harmful algal bloom mitigation technology in Chautauqua Lake, N.Y., from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center’s (ERDC) Operational Water Research team leader, Dr. Martin Page, directs the lead boats during preliminary flow testing of a floating version of the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception Treatment and Transformation System. ERDC collaborated with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation scientists and industry partners to study harmful algal bloom mitigation technology in Chautauqua Lake, N.Y., from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researcher Dr. Edith Martinez-Guerra collects concentrated algal biomass samples downstream of the on-site dewatering screw press during validation testing of the on-shore algae harvesting system operated by AECOM. The screw press was a new component of the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment, and Transformation System (HABITATS) that improves throughput of the HABITATS process. The demonstration was conducted at Chautauqua Lake, N.Y., Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researcher Dr. Edith Martinez-Guerra collects concentrated algal biomass samples downstream of the on-site dewatering screw press during validation testing of the on-shore algae harvesting system operated by AECOM. The screw press was a new component of the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment, and Transformation System (HABITATS) that improves throughput of the HABITATS process. The demonstration was conducted at Chautauqua Lake, N.Y., Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

The AECOM dissolved air floatation system neutralizes algal cells and adds microbubbles to float the algae to the surface, returning clean water to the lake after additional treatment.  U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researchers studied and recommended new organic materials for the dissolved air floatation process that were validated for the first time in 2020 and will increase fuel yields for the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment and Transformation System (HABITATS). The ERDC Operational Water Research team collaborated with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation scientists and industry partners to study harmful algal bloom mitigation technology in Chautauqua Lake from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

The AECOM dissolved air floatation system neutralizes algal cells and adds microbubbles to float the algae to the surface, returning clean water to the lake after additional treatment. U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researchers studied and recommended new organic materials for the dissolved air floatation process that were validated for the first time in 2020 and will increase fuel yields for the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment and Transformation System (HABITATS). The ERDC Operational Water Research team collaborated with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation scientists and industry partners to study harmful algal bloom mitigation technology in Chautauqua Lake from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4.

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researchers collect harmful algal bloom samples onboard the mobile dissolved air flotation system at Chautauqua Lake, N.Y. The ERDC Operational Water Research team collaborated with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation scientists and industry partners to study harmful algal bloom mitigation technology from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4 in Chautauqua Lake.

U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) researchers collect harmful algal bloom samples onboard the mobile dissolved air flotation system at Chautauqua Lake, N.Y. The ERDC Operational Water Research team collaborated with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation scientists and industry partners to study harmful algal bloom mitigation technology from Aug. 19 through Sept. 4 in Chautauqua Lake.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Researchers from the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), in collaboration with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) scientists and industry partners, concluded the field demonstration portion of their research project to study harmful algal bloom (HAB) mitigation technology Sept. 4 in Chautauqua Lake, New York.

This demonstration helped achieve some key milestones for the Harmful Algal Bloom Interception, Treatment, and Transformation System, or HABITATS, research project, which aims to develop a scalable HAB response tool that can help lessen the environmental and economic impacts on our nation when water quality is impaired by HABs.

ERDC, in coordination with NYSDEC and personnel from AECOM ⸺ the lead contractor for the onshore effort ⸺ demonstrated the innovative land-based HABITATS treatment process that removes HABs from water and concentrates the algal biomass. The demonstration was hosted by the Chautauqua Lake Association.  

AECOM used a dissolved air flotation algae harvester, an ozone system for algal toxin removal and a modified screw press that further concentrates the algal biomass.  

Over the course of the five-day pilot-scale onshore validation test, 205,000 gallons of lake water were cleaned, and yielded 700 gallons of blue-green algae paste that was then concentrated further at the site. The resulting algal biomass will be transformed to biofuel at the University of Illinois in a pilot-scale hydrothermal liquefaction system.  

The HABITATS demonstration was funded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through its Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program.  

This demonstration showed that new organic flocculants can be effective in removing the algae when using dissolved air flotation. This improvement is expected to increase fuel yields and economic viability of the process. ERDC will incorporate the data into a techno-economic analysis, which will be included in a public technical report later this year.

ERDC is also developing and studying a shipboard format of the HABITATS process that can be deployed on the water away from the shoreline. This new system underwent a preliminary assessment near the Long Point State Park at Chautauqua Lake.

To learn more about the HABITATS technology and other ERDC HAB research efforts, visit https://www.erdc.usace.army.mil/Media/Fact-Sheets/Fact-Sheet-Article-View/Article/1920665/harmful-algal-bloom-interception-treatment-and-transformation-system-habitats/.


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