Wastewater Algal Ponds for Biofuel Production

Mehrabadi A, Craggs R, Farid MM. Wastewater treatment high rate algal ponds (WWT HRAP) for low-cost biofuel production. Bioresource Technology 2014 Nov 13. pii: S0960-8524(14)01606-X. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2014.11.004.

Growing energy demand and water consumption have increased concerns about energy security and efficient wastewater treatment and reuse. Wastewater treatment high rate algal ponds (WWT HRAPs) are a promising technology that could help solve these challenges concurrently where climate is favorable. WWT HRAPs have great potential for biofuel production as a by-product of WWT, since the costs of algal cultivation and harvest for biofuel production are covered by the wastewater treatment function. Generally, 800-1400GJ/ha/year energy (average biomass energy content: 20GJ/ton; HRAP biomass productivity: 40-70tons/ha/year) can be produced in the form of harvestable biomass from WWT HRAP which can be used to provide community-level energy supply. In this paper the benefits of WWT HRAPs are compared with conventional mass algal culture systems. Moreover, parameters to effectively increase algal energy content and overall energy production from WWT HRAP are discussed including selection of appropriate algal biomass biofuel conversion pathways.

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