Wastewater Treatment

Microalgae, sometimes in combination with other micro organisms, are utilized to treat municipal, agricultural, food, industrial, as well as aqua and mariculture, efflu ents. The main objectives for algal biotechnology are the improvement of existing systems for waste water treat ment, the reduction of problematic emissions, the establishment of material circuits, and water recycling. The consumption of inorganic nutrients by autotrophi cally growing microalgae may be used for the reduction of environmental loads. The key substances contributing to water eutrophy, for example, nitrate and phosphate, as well as important industrial and agricultural waste gases (e.g., ammonia and carbon dioxide) are the main nutrients for microalgae. Having disposed off such environmental loads, these algae can be exploited as fertilizers, and for the extraction of valuable compounds.

A number of applications have been developed in the following fields:

• development of a process and pilot plant for the dis posal of inorganic loads, especially nitrate and phosphate from the circulating process water of aqua culture by microalgae;

• heavy metal biosorption by viable microalgae;

• utilization of carbon dioxide from industrial exhaust gas; and

• disposal of contaminants from agricultural waste water.

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