Andrea Gonzalez Torres
Room 206, Chemical Sciences Bldg
- Master of Engineering Science, University of New South Wales, Australia
- Bachelor of Environmental Engineering, University of the Andes, Colombia
Research Project Title: Optimising algae floc structure for more efficient separation
Algal and cyanobacteria blooms are of particular concern in water treatment systems due to the release of harmful toxins and taste and odour compounds into water supplies, as well as their negative impact on treatment process performance. Sedimentation and flotation are separation processes often employed for algae removal. Both processes require successful upstream coagulation and flocculation to provide optimum cell removal efficiency. However, coagulation of biological systems, such as algae, is complex and further research is required to improve understanding of the coagulation/flocculation process such that floc properties can be suitably tailored for downstream separation.
This project will investigate the floc structure of algal and cyanobacteria species, including Microcystis aeruginosa and other species as determined by communications with the water industry. The impact of algal characteristics (such as cell morphology and the composition of associated algogenic organic matter) as well as coagulation conditions (to include coagulant/flocculant type and pH) on floc structure will be evaluated. Floc properties will be evaluated in terms of their physical character (size, strength and density) using well-established methods and, furthermore, novel methods will be developed to examine chemical character of the floc and how this relates to physical properties. Optimal floc properties will then be linked to separation processes including sedimentation, dissolved air flotation and membrane filtration.