There is increasing interest in the use of microalgae as a renewable source for the production of fuels and chemicals, but improvements are needed in all steps of this process, including harvesting. A continuous microalgae harvest system was developed based on electrolysis, referred to here as a continuous electrolytic microalgae (CEM) harvest system. This innovative system combines cultivation and harvesting and enables continuous and efficient concentration of microalgae. The electrodes were subject to a polarity exchange (PE) in the middle of the operation to further improve the harvest efficiency. Use of PE, rather than conventional electro-coagulation-flotation (ECF), led to more efficient cell recovery and more uniform recovery over the entire harvest chamber. In addition, PE increased the cell growth rate and the circulated cells remained intact after harvesting. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.