Fabrication and Characterization of HAR Microfluidic Device to Concentrate Microalgae

V. Singh, Q. Nguyen, J. Goettert, D. Yemane, J. Bargiel, C. Lane, F. Stephenson
Louisiana State University, US

Keywords: MEMS, microfabrication, biofuels, microfluidics


Algae are a promising candidate for large-scale production of biofuels, an important source of renewable energy [1]. A significant portion (20-40%) of the cost in the traditional processing comes from concentrating (dewatering) the algae from the dilute concentrations (~0.1 wt%). A continuous flow microfluidic dewatering chip has been designed using an innovative, patented lateral displacement array (LDA) design. The array consists of a densely packed vertical posts whose arrangement is such that particles above a certain critical diameter flowing through them are displaced to one side and in mirrored pattern on the other side, thereby getting displaced towards the center from both sides and thus concentrated in center. The design ensures that these arrays can be run continuously without getting clogged. The main focus of this study is on the fabrication and characterization of the device, using the microfluidic chips initially fabricated in previous study and improved in the present using two LIGA based approaches. In the presentation we will discuss the performance of these devices and will also compare and contrast the results of the devices containing the chips fabricated by two different techniques and/or with different aspect ratios ranging from 10 to 35.