Nutrient Recovery from Anaerobically Treated Blackwater and Improving Its Effluent Quality through Microalgae Biomass Production
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionWater. 2020, 12 (2), . 10.3390/w12020592
The blackwater stream of domestic wastewater contains energy and the majority of nutrients that can contribute to a circular economy. Hygienically safe and odor-free nutrient solution produced from anaerobically treated source-separated blackwater through an integrated post-treatment unit can be used as a source of liquid fertilizer. However, the high water content in the liquid fertilizer represents a storage or transportation challenge when utilized on agricultural areas, which are often situated far from the urban areas. Integration of microalgae into treated source-separated blackwater (BW) has been shown to effectively assimilate and recover phosphorus (P) and nitrogen (N) in the form of green biomass to be used as slow release biofertilizer and hence close the nutrient loop. With this objective, a lab-scale flat panel photobioreactor was used to cultivate Chlorella sorokiniana strain NIVA CHL 176 in a chemostat mode of operation. The growth of C. sorokiniana on treated source-separated blackwater as a substrate was monitored by measuring dry biomass concentration at a dilution rate of 1.38 d−1, temperature of 37 °C and pH of 7. The results indicate that the N and P recovery rates of C. sorokiniana were 99 mg N L−1d−1 and 8 mg P L−1d−1 for 10% treated BW and reached 213 mg N L−1d−1 and 35 mg P L−1d−1, respectively when using 20% treated BW as a substrate. The corresponding biomass yield on light, N and P on the 20% treated BW substrate were 0.37 g (mol photon)−1, 9.1 g g−1 and 54.1 g g−1, respectively, and up to 99% of N and P were removed from the blackwater.