MAB2.0 project: Integrating algae production into wastewater treatment

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Abstract

Different species of microalgae are highly efficient in removing nutrients from wastewater streams and are able to grow using flue gas as a CO2 source. These features indicate that application of microalgae has a promising outlook in wastewater treatment. However, practical aspects and process of integration of algae cultivation into an existing wastewater treatment line have not been investigated. The Climate-KIC co-funded Microalgae Biorefinery 2.0 project developed and demonstrated this integration process through a case study. The purpose of this paper is to introduce this process by phases and protocols, as well as report on the challenges and bottlenecks identified in the case study. These standardized technical protocols detailed in the paper help to assess different aspects of integration including biological aspects such as strain selection, as well as economic and environmental impacts. This process is necessary to guide wastewater treatment plants through the integration of algae cultivation, as unfavourable parameters of the different wastewater related feedstock streams need specific attention and management. In order to obtain compelling designs, more emphasis needs to be put on the engineering aspects of integration. Well-designed integration can lead to operational cost saving and proper feedstock treatment enabling algae growth.

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