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Characterization of a microalga Chlorella sp. well adapted to highly concentrated municipal wastewater for nutrient removal and biodiesel production

Li, Yecong, Chen, Yi-Feng, Chen, Paul, Min, Min, Zhou, Wenguang, Martinez, Blanca, Zhu, Jun, Ruan, Roger
Bioresource technology 2011 v.102 no.8 pp. 5138-5144
Chlorella, activated sludge, ammonia, biodiesel, biomass, chemical oxygen demand, culture media, energy, fatty acid esters, microalgae, nitrogen content, phosphorus, streams, viability, wastewater, wastewater treatment
The feasibility of growing Chlorella sp. in the centrate, a highly concentrated municipal wastewater stream generated from activated sludge thickening process, for simultaneous wastewater treatment and energy production was tested. The characteristics of algal growth, biodiesel production, wastewater nutrient removal and the viability of scale-up and the stability of continuous operation were examined. Two culture media, namely autoclaved centrate (AC) and raw centrate (RC) were used for comparison. The results showed that by the end of a 14-day batch culture, algae could remove ammonia, total nitrogen, total phosphorus, and chemical oxygen demand (COD) by 93.9%, 89.1%, 80.9%, and 90.8%, respectively from raw centrate, and the fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) content was 11.04% of dry biomass providing a biodiesel yield of 0.12g-biodiesel/L-algae culture solution. The system could be successfully scaled up, and continuously operated at 50% daily harvesting rate, providing a net biomass productivity of 0.92g-algae/(L day).