Microalgae growth using high-strength wastewater followed by anaerobic co-digestion

Xin Yuan, Meng Wang, Chul Park, Ashish K. Sahu, Sarina J. Ergas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Integration of algal biofuel production to wastewater anaerobic digestion infrastructure has the potential to increase biogas production, decrease high and variable internal nitrogen loads, and improve sludge digestibility and dewaterability. In this research, two species of microalgae, Spirulina platensis and Chlorella sp., were grown on sludge centrate and a centrate and nitrified wastewater effluent mixture. Harvested algae were co-digested with waste activated sludge (WAS) at varying ratios. High-growth (6.8 g m -2·d-1), nitrogen (36.5 g m -3·d-1), and phosphorus (6.5 g m -3·d-1) uptake rates were achieved with Chlorella on centrate. No growth was observed with S. platensis under the same conditions; however, both organisms grew well on the centrate and effluent mixture. Co-digestion of algae with WAS improved volatile solids reduction. Although co-digestion with S. platensis improved biosolids dewaterability, Chlorella had a slight negative effect on dewaterability compared to WAS alone. The efficiency of energy conversion from photons to biogas generated from Chlorella was estimated at 1.4%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-404
Number of pages9
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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