Publication | Conference contributions

Synergies of Wastewater and Microalgae Cultivation

Published 2014

Citation: Sonnleitner A, Bacovsky D, Bochmann G, Drosg B, Schagerl M. Synergies of Wastewater and Microalgae Cultivation, Word Sustainable Energy Days next 2014, 26th-28th of February 2014, Wels, Austria.


Current international research results identify microalgae as a new and promising feedstock for the global energy supply chain. A novel concept to reduce costs and cover the need of water and nutrients is the combination of wastewater treatment and microalgae cultivation. In Austria in particular brewery and dairy effluents as well as municipal wastewater would be suitable for algae cultivation. Cultivation systems practical for the use of wastewater are High Rate Algal Ponds (open system, suspended culture), Algal Turf Scrubbers (open system, immobilized culture) and Photobioreactors (closed systems, suspended culture). The cultivation of microalgae in general and the special case of wastewater as nutrient source face a variety of challenges either concerning the accumulation of microalgal cells in wastewater (upstream process) or their removal and processing (downstream process). Taking a look at the whole production chain shows that for effluents of breweries, dairies
and smale-scale municipal wastewater no feasible concept for the combination of microalgae cultivation and wastewater treatment can be designed. A promising production concept for large-scale municipal wastewater treatment plants are HRAPs or biofilm production in ATS systems for energetic and material pathways. Various R&D challenges are to overcome to lead to an optimization and further development of technologies for combined wastewater treatment and microalgae cultivation in Austria.

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