Anaerobic Co-digestion of Swine Manure and Microalgae Chlorella sp. Experimental Studies and Energy Analysis

Meng Wang, Eunyoung Lee, Qiong Zhang, Sarina J. Ergas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Integration of algae production with livestock waste management has the potential to recover energy and nutrients from animal manure, while reducing discharges of organic matter, pathogens, and nutrients to the environment. In this study, microalgae Chlorella sp. were grown on centrate from anaerobically digested swine manure. The algae were harvested for mesophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) with swine manure for bioenergy production. Low biogas yields were observed in batch AD studies with algae alone, or when algae were co-digested with swine manure at ≥43 % algae (based on volatile solids [VS]). However, co-digestion of 6–16 % algae with swine manure produced similar biogas yields as digestion of swine manure alone. An average methane yield of 190 mL/g VSfed was achieved in long-term semi-continuous co-digestion studies with 10 ± 3 % algae with swine manure. Data from the experimental studies were used in an energy analysis assuming the process was scaled up to a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) with 7000 pigs with integrated algae-based treatment of centrate and co-digestion of manure and the harvested algae. The average net energy production for the system was estimated at 1027 kWh per day. A mass balance indicated that 58 % of nitrogen (N) and 98 % of phosphorus (P) in the system were removed in the biosolids. A major advantage of the proposed process is the reduction in nutrient discharges compared with AD of swine waste without algae production.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1204-1215
Number of pages12
JournalBioenergy Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Energy (miscellaneous)


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