Integrated CO2 Capture, Lipid Production and Nutrient Removal from Tertiary Municipality Wastewater by Microalgae Sp. Culturing: Experimental Study and Optimization

Project: Research

Project Details


It is now well accepted to the global communities that the reduction of CO2 emission is essential in order to forestall potentially catastrophic consequences of the greenhouse effects. Microalgae cultivation, a photosynthetic process, can be utilized to capture (consume) CO2 form the large CO2 sources such as flues gas of the fossil fuel based power plants. The nutrients required for microalgae cultivation can be obtained from the municipal/dairy firm wastewater. The biomass (microalgae) that produced during this photosynthesis process can be converted into biofuel. Thus microalgae cultivation offers the three major advantages: (i) CO2 capture (use) from fossil fuel based power generating stations, (ii) Treatment of municipal/dairy firm wastewater and (iii) Producing renewable energy. The CO2 concentration of a power plant flue gas is about 500 times higher than that in the atmosphere. Microalgae culture using such high CO2 concentration is one of the major challenges in realization of the above mentioned technology. The present research is aimed at investigating the microalgae culture in low to high CO2 concentration in photobioreactors. The synthetic tertiary municipality wastewater, to be used as supply of nutrients of the algae, will be prepared with compositions by varying different nitrogen to phosphorus ratio. To enhance the CO2 capturing abilities of the microalgae, a detailed understanding of the effect of CO2 concentration, nitrogen to phosphorus ratio in the wastewater media is essential. The experiments will be conducted at different feed composition of CO2 with air in order to optimize the growth rate of algae at maximum CO2 consumption. Bioremediation of nitrate, ammonium and phosphate tertiary wastewater will be monitored daily basis. In addition, the growth kinetics of the microalgae will be studied under different parametric conditions such as the light intensity, pH, temperature etc. It is expected that the innovation and implementation of the integrated CO2 capture and wastewater treatment will contribute to the global commitment reducing the greenhouse CO2 gas. It will also contribute to the municipality wastewater treatments and produce lipid for biofuel production. Given the facts, this research has huge implications for Saudi Arabia, promising both benefits and challenges. Beside the involvement of environmental concern and reusability of treated wastewater, biomass as a source of renewable energy also prime important outcome from this project. Recently, Shell, one of the leading Oil Companies in the world announced their initiatives in biofuel production research focusing on blending with the fossil fuel at least 15% by 2020. Being a reliable energy supplier, Saudi ARAMCO can take the lead on the research and development of this promising and environmental friendly technology. This process will also interest KACST, Saudi Electric Company, the wastewater treatment plant, industrial companies by solving many of their pollution issues. In this way the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will create significant research and industrial jobs and also can take global leadership role on environmental friendly energy technologies, mitigation of CO2 and wastewater treatment. The intellectual properties of the project will be protected through KFUPM. PI and the research team will be working on the filing of invention disclosures, intellectual property protection and development of commercialization plans with the assistance of KFUPM.
Effective start/end date1/04/201/04/23


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