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/.