Wastewater Recovery Systems

Task 2: Energy, nutrient, and water recovery from wastewater treatment/recovery systems.

For this task two aspects of algal-based systems will be examined.

  • Algae grown on wastewater can aid the treatment process by adding oxygen to the water and facilitating removal of some organics and nutrients. The algal biomass can then be harvested and converted into fuels like biodiesel and methane or products like animal feed and polymers. The classic pathway is producing biodiesel through lipid extraction. Another pathway is biogas production through anaerobic co-digestion of algae and municipal wastewater sludge. Research will be done to determine the algal growth kinetics and the potential production of bioenergy products from these pathways.
Algae photobioreactor at Learning Gate Elementary. Photo from Robert Bair.

Algae photobioreactor at Learning Gate Elementary. Photo from Robert Bair.

Photo from Matthew Verbyla

Photo from Matthew Verbyla

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  • Lagoon type treatment systems which benefit from the algal growth can be reused as a source of water and fertilizer. However, lagoon water may contain pathogenic organisms.  Here we will determine methods for removing pathogens such as Giardia cysts and Cryptosporidium oocyts, rotavirus (RV), and human adenovirus (HAdV).
Photo from Nathan Manser

Ileana counting colonies of pathogens. Photo from Nathan Manser