Algae grown on wastewater media are a potential source of low-cost lipids for production of liquid biofuels. This study investigated lipid productivity and nutrient removal by green algae grown during treatment of dairy farm and municipal wastewaters supplemented with CO2. Dairy wastewater was treated outdoors in bench-scale batch cultures. The lipid content of the volatile solids peaked at Day 6, during exponential growth, and declined thereafter. Peak lipid content ranged from 14–29%, depending on wastewater concentration. Maximum lipid productivity also peaked at Day 6 of batch growth, with a volumetric productivity of 17 mg/day/L of reactor and an areal productivity of 2.8 g/m2/day, which would be equivalent to 11,000 L/ha/year (1,200 gal/acre/year) if sustained year round. After 12 days, ammonium and orthophosphate removals were 96 and >99%, respectively. Municipal wastewater was treated in semicontinuous indoor cultures with 2–4 day hydraulic residence times (HRTs). Maximum lipid productivity for the municipal wastewater was 24 mg/day/L, observed in the 3-day HRT cultures. Over 99% removal of ammonium and orthophosphate was achieved. The results from both types of wastewater suggest that CO2-supplemented algae cultures can simultaneously remove dissolved nitrogen and phosphorus to low levels while generating a feedstock potentially useful for liquid biofuels production.
- algal polycultures,
- wastewater treatment,
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