This work evaluates the use of native microalgae consortia for a dual role: polishing treatment of municipal wastewater effluents and microalgae biomass feedstock potential for biodiesel or biofertilizer production. An initial screening was undertaken to test N and P removal from secondary effluents and biomass production by 12 consortia. A subsequent treatment was performed by selected consortia (01 and 12) under three operational conditions: stirring (S), S + 12 h of daily aeration (S + A) and S + A enriched with CO2 (S + AC). All treatments resulted in compliance with environmental regulations (e.g. Directive 91/271/EEC) and high removal efficiency of nutrients: 64–79% and 80–94% of total N and PO43−-P respectively. During the experiments it was shown that pH alkalinization due to microalgae growth benefits the chemical removal of ammonia and phosphorus. Moreover, advantages of pH increase could be accomplished by intermittent CO2 addition which in this research (treatment S + AC) promoted higher yield and lipid concentration. The resulting dry biomass analysis showed a low lipid content (0.5–4.3%) not ideal for biodiesel production. Moreover, the high rate of ash (29.3–53.0%) suggests that biomass could be readily recycled as a biofertilizer due to mineral supply and organic constituents formed by C, N and P (e.g. carbohydrate, protein, and lipids).

You do not currently have access to this content.