Skip to main content

Harvesting Natural Algal Blooms for Concurrent Biofuel Production and Hypoxia Mitigation: Case Study of the Gulf of Mexico Situation

The full text article is not available for purchase.

The publisher only permits individual articles to be downloaded by subscribers.

or click here to sign up for a free trial


This study assesses the net energy balance and economic benefits of harvesting environmental algal blooms and conversion of the harvested biomass into biofuels. An engineering model was developed to compare the energy efficiency of different harvesting methods and biofuel conversion techniques. Three different harvesting techniques plankton net trawling, traveling screen, and screw pump filtration are compared in terms of energy consumption and harvesting efficiency. Among the various conditions modeled, the most favorable harvesting condition was produced by a 750 kW fishing boat with a plankton trawling net for harvesting algae biomass at 0.5 m/s harvest speed and harvesting from the surface to 0.5 m depth in the ocean. When harvesting a highly eutrophic area (40 mg-chl/m3) under these conditions, we estimate plankton net trawling operation can collect 100 kg of dry algal biomass with 1 GJ of harvesting energetic consumption. Overall, the energetic analysis revealed that the entire harvesting and conversion process can achieve an energy “break-even point” if the chlorophyll concentration is above 55 mg/m3. We use the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic area as our case study site. Plankton net harvesting technology can harvest 23,313 metric tons in 3 month in the cost of 81,380,937. This result also suggests that vertical focusing technology can offset 98% of harvesting fuel consumption.

Keywords: Algal Biofuel; Eutophication; Harvest; Hypoxia

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

    WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • About WEF Proceedings
  • WEFTEC Conference Information
  • Ingenta Connect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more