Falling film evaporation characteristics of microalgae suspension for biofuel production

Xianhai Zeng, Chong Xun Lawrence Quek, Michael Kobina Danquah, Meng Wai Woo, Yinghua Lu, Xiao Dong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Microalgae, one of the important biofuel producers, have received considerable attention recently. Dewatering is one of the bottlenecks for its industrialization due to the dilute nature of the suspensions and the small cell size. Traditional liquid-solid separation processes are not efficient for dewatering of microalgae suspensions. In this study, falling film evaporation was employed for dewatering of microalgae suspension, which is a popular process for concentrating heat sensitive materials. The heat transfer coefficient was as high as 9414.20 W/m2 K with mass flow rate of 0.233 kg/s, ΔT of 1.21 °C, and microalgae concentration of 60 g/L. The falling film evaporation process can be made highly energy efficient if it is coupled with Mechanical Vapor Recompression (MVR) or Thermal Vapor Recompression (TVR) system. Heat and mass transfer characteristics of falling film evaporation of microalgae suspension have been investigated here. This will provide the fundamentals for future feasibility study of utilizing the falling film evaporation in the microalgal industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-350
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Bubble formation mechanism
  • Falling film evaporation
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Microalgae suspension

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