The treatment of municipal wastewater by the macroalga Oedogonium sp and its potential for the production of biocrude

Neveux, N., Magnusson, M., Mata, L., Whelan, A., de Nys, R., and Paul, N.A. (2016) The treatment of municipal wastewater by the macroalga Oedogonium sp and its potential for the production of biocrude. Algal Research, 13. pp. 284-292.

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Abstract

Municipal wastewater represents a significant yet under-utilised resource for the commercial production of algae. However, in order to realise this potential, two constraints must first be addressed - the treatment of wastewater to levels comparable with existing technologies and the reliable production of monocultures as the basis for commercial products. In this study, three municipal wastewater sources were investigated at various water exchange rates for the cultivation of the filamentous freshwater macroalga Oedogonium sp., demonstrating that the delivery of nutrients through primary effluent at a low exchange rate of 5% volume per day supported high biomass productivity. A continuous high-density culture of Oedogonium (0.25-1.5 g/L fresh weight) in a pilot-scale pond system yielded biomass productivities of 7-10 g/m(2)/d dry weight and nutrient removal rates of 0.50 g nitrogen/m(2)/d and 0.11 g phosphorus/m(2)/d without the addition of CO2. Nitrogen, phosphorus and chemical oxygen demand were reduced by 62%, 75% and 57% respectively in the treated water. The concentration of microbes was reduced by 99% and some metal contaminants that can impede the reuse of treated water were also reduced by 99%. The biomass produced had a relatively consistent biochemical composition that would yield 26-27% of the dry weight as biocrude oil through hydrothermal liquefaction. The results demonstrate that monocultures of Oedogonium sp. can be used to treat multiple components of municipal wastewater and simultaneously deliver biomass that can be conveniently harvested and converted to biocrude for the production of drop-in fuels.

Item ID: 44004
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2211-9264
Keywords: algae, primary effluent, nutrient removal, hydrothermal liquefaction, biofuel, aquatic science
Funders: Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (AMCRC)
Projects and Grants: ARENA 002369
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2016 07:31
FoR Codes: 10 TECHNOLOGY > 1002 Environmental Biotechnology > 100203 Bioremediation @ 70%
10 TECHNOLOGY > 1003 Industrial Biotechnology > 100302 Bioprocessing, Bioproduction and Bioproducts @ 30%
SEO Codes: 85 ENERGY > 8505 Renewable Energy > 850501 Biofuel (Biomass) Energy @ 20%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960912 Urban and Industrial Water Management @ 80%
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