Characterization and utilization of hydrothermal carbonization aqueous phase as nutrient source for microalgal growth

Yonas Zeslase Belete, Stefan Leu, Sammy Boussiba, Boris Zorin, Clemens Posten, Laurenz Thomsen, Song Wang, Amit Gross, Roy Bernstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study investigated the feasibility of using hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) aqueous phase as an alternative nutrient source for microalgae cultivation, and the microalgae cultivation capability to treat this complex medium to a level enabling its reuse or discharge. HTC of activated sludge was optimized in terms of the energy content of the solid hydrochar and the nutrient content of the HTC aqueous phase adequate for microalgal growth. Growth rates of Coelastrella sp. and Chlorella sp. in the HTC aqueous phase based growth medium and a control medium (mBG11) were similar, indicating that the HTC aqueous phase does not inhibit the microalgae growth. Nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were reduced by >90% and dissolved organic carbon by 80% after 6 days of cultivation, resulting in water quality suitable for reuse or discharge. This study confirms the microalgae high potential in a circular bio-economy to valorize wet bio-waste streams from various treatment methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121758
JournalBioresource Technology
Volume290
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • HTC aqueous phase
  • Hydrochar
  • Microalgal cultivation
  • Nutrient removal

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