Anaerobic co-digestion of microalgae Chlorella sp. and waste activated sludge

Meng Wang, Ashish K. Sahu, Bjørn Rusten, Chul Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


The study investigated the growth characteristics of environmental algal strain, Chlorella, in the modified Zarrouk medium and its anaerobic co-digestion with waste activated sludge (WAS). Analysis of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) in algal culture and WAS indicated that Chlorella secreted more EPS into the surrounding liquid than formed floc-associated EPS as in activated sludge. Mesophilic anaerobic digestion of algae alone required extended digestion period to produce methane, with biogas yield at 262mL/gVSfed after 45days of digestion. When algae was co-digested with varying amounts of WAS, 59-96% in mass, not only biogas yield of microalgae improved but the gas phase was reached more quickly. The dewaterability of co-digestion products were also better than two controls digesting WAS or algae only. These results suggest that anaerobic co-digestion of algae and sludge improves the digestibility of microalgae and could also bring synergistic effects on the dewaterability of digested products for existing anaerobic digesters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-590
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource technology
StatePublished - Aug 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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