Closing Domestic Nutrient Cycles Using Microalgae

T.V. Fernandes, R. Shrestha, Yixing Sui, Gustavo Papini, Grietje Zeeman, L.E.M. Vet, Rene Wijffels, Packo Lamers

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

This study demonstrates that microalgae can effectively recover all P and N from anaerobically treated black water (toilet wastewater). Thus, enabling the removal of nutrients from the black water and the generation of a valuable algae product in one step. Screening experiments with green microalgae and cyanobacteria showed that all tested green microalgae species successfully grew on anaerobically treated black water. In a
subsequent controlled experiment in flat-panel photobioreactors, Chlorella sorokiniana was able to remove 100% of the phosphorus and nitrogen from the medium. Phosphorus was depleted within 4 days while nitrogen took 12 days to reach depletion. The phosphorus and nitrogen removal rates during the initial linear growth phase were 17 and 122 mg·L−1·d−1, respectively. After this initial phase, the phosphorus was depleted. The nitrogen removal rate continued to decrease in the second phase, resulting in an overall removal rate of 80 mg·L−1·d−1. The biomass concentration at the end of the experiment was 11.5 g·L−1, with a P content of approximately 1% and a N content of 7.6%. This high algal biomass concentration, together with a relatively short P recovery time, is a promising finding for future post-treatment of black water while gaining valuable algal biomass for further application.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12450-12456
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume49
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • national

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