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Factors Affecting the Growth of Microalgae on Blackwater from Biosolid Dewatering

Marazzi, Francesca, Ficara, Elena, Fornaroli, Riccardo, Mezzanotte, Valeria
Water, air, and soil pollution 2017 v.228 no.2 pp. 68
Chlorella, Scenedesmus, anaerobic digesters, biomass, carbon dioxide, correlation, dewatering, environmental factors, heat, methane, microalgae, nitrification, photobioreactors, polymethylmethacrylate, sludge, specific growth rate, temperature, wastewater treatment
This paper discusses the possibility of including the culturing of microalgae within a conventional wastewater treatment sequence by growing them on the blackwater (BW) from biosolid dewatering to produce biomass to feed the anaerobic digester. Two photobioreactors were used: a 12 L plexiglas column for indoor, lab-scale tests and a 85 L plexiglas column for outdoor culturing. Microalgae (Chlorella sp. and Scenedesmus sp.) could easily grow on the tested blackwater. The average specific growth rate in indoor and outdoor batch tests was satisfactory, ranging between 0.14 and 0.16 day⁻¹. During a continuous test performed under outdoor conditions from May to November, in which the off-gas from the combined heat and power unit was used as the CO₂ source, an average biomass production of 50 mgTSS L⁻¹ day⁻¹ was obtained. However, statistical analyses confirmed that microalgal growth was affected by environmental conditions (temperature and season) and that it was negatively correlated with the occurrence of nitrification. Finally, the biochemical methane potential of the algal biomass was slightly higher than that from waste sludge (208 mLCH₄ gVS⁻¹ vs. 190 mLCH₄ gVS⁻¹).