Growing Algae in Wastewater

  • Author:
  • Published: 10 March 2017
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: Environmental Science & Technology/ACS Publications
  • Associated Societies: American Chemical Society (ACS), USA
thumbnail image: Growing Algae in Wastewater

Municipal wastewater, i.e., sewage, contains contaminants that need to be removed during wastewater treatment. Some of these contaminants, however, can also act as nutrients for plants and algae. This can be exploited for water treatment: Microalgae, for example, have been used to lower nitrogen concentrations in water. However, their small size makes them difficult to remove and harvest.

Shijian Ge and Pascale Champagne, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, have used the macroalgae Chaetomorpha linum to recover nutrients from wastewater and convert them to useful biomass. The team used differently concentrated types of wastewater from a wastewater treatment plant to cultivate the macroalgae. The algae were grown in wastewater aerated by aquarium pumps and illuminated by commercially available aquarium LED lights. The algae were able to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from all types of wastewater with high efficiency. The larger size of the algae makes them significantly easier to harvest than microalgae.

According to the researchers, the process not only provides efficient wastewater treatment, but the algae biomass grown during this water treatment process could be used as a source of protein, carbohydrates, or for biofuel production. The team points out that further studies on optimized process conditions are needed to judge the approach's economic feasibility.


Article Views: 5762

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH