Utilization of sugarcane factories’ wastes as inexpensive source of nutrients and CO2 for microalgal biomass production: process coupling and potential evaluation

By Deribew Tefera Zewdie and Abubeker Yimam Ali


One approach for the viable production of algal biomass is to couple its production with wastewater treatment plants, power and/or industrial plants. This is intended towards the utilization of the nutrients and the CO2 in the wastewater and in the flue gases of the industry respectively by the microalgae during their growth. In the present study microalgal biomass production was conceptually coupled with a sugar factory. The potential of the wastewater and the flue gas of the factory to support the growth of the microalgae was evaluated. Likewise the possible reduction of pollution by the microalgae was studied. The outputs from the coupled process were determined using the material and energy balance approach with a spread sheet. The cultivation model shows that 12 mg of total nitrogen (TN) and 7.4 mg of total phosphorus (TP) per liter of wastewater could be transferred to the algal growth ponds. It was found that there is a nitrogen deficit in the wastewater. With the supply of makeup nutrient, 120.5 tons/year microalgal biomass could be produced from the coupled process. Application of the assumptions resulted in the reduction of chemical oxygen demand (COD) (mg O2/L) from 2200 to 447, biological oxygen demand (BOD5) (mg O2/L) from 1200 to 207, TN (mg/L) from 15 to 0.6 and, TP (mg/L) from 10 to 1.5 in the wastewater. Integration of the sugarcane processing factories with algal biomass production is important for both biomass production and bioremediation.

The full article appeared on the SN Applied Sciences website at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42452-021-04311-2


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