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Home ResearchResearch Highlight

Research Highlight

프린트페이스북

Algal bloom removal system using unmanned surface vehicle fleet

2015.12.18 14:50

“Algal bloom” refers to a rapid increase or accumulation in the population of microscopic algae in an aquatic system. Recently, nearly every summer, Korea experiences harmful algal blooms in a vast area of its main freshwater systems. In order to tackle this problem, KAIST College of Engineering formed an interdisciplinary team consisting of ISE (Industrial & Systems Engineering) Department and CEE (Civil & Environmental Engineering) Department.  

Fig 1. Algal bloom


  In this project, we seek an effective and economical way of removing algal blooms in fresh water systems using a fleet of unmanned surface vehicles equipped with algae collecting devices and autonomous control systems. The uniqueness of our approach can be summarized into three folds. First of all, we employ a fleet of small and unmanned units in contrast to traditional systems comprised of a single large machinery in order to improve the accessibility as well as the cost efficiency of the system. Second, our vehicles utilize an electro-floating algae collecting mechanism that is environmental-friendly and effective. Lastly, our methodology involves simulation-based systems engineering that allows us to develop a robust system that is optimized for a number of different algal bloom scenarios. From this project, we expect to devise a sustainable solution for algal bloom problems that not only efficiently remove harmful algal blooms from water systems but also effectively collect and treat them to create useful by-products, such as biofuel. Figure 6 shows the project team structure. Questions on the details can be emailed to : Prof. Hayong Shin (PI) hyshin@kaist.ac.kr Je-Ok Choi (Coordinator) jchoi89@kaist.ac.kr  

Fig 2. Concept of operations

Fig 3. USV platform

Fig 4. Algae collection device (electro-floating)

Fig 5. Control system for USV

Fig 6. Project team structure

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