Water use and its recycling in microalgae cultivation for biofuel application

Wasif Farooq, William I. Suh, Min S. Park, Ji Won Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

146 Scopus citations


Microalgal biofuels are not yet economically viable due to high material and energy costs associated with production process. Microalgae cultivation is a water-intensive process compared to other downstream processes for biodiesel production. Various studies found that the production of 1. L of microalgal biodiesel requires approximately 3000. L of water. Water recycling in microalgae cultivation is desirable not only to reduce the water demand, but it also improves the economic feasibility of algal biofuels as due to nutrients and energy savings. This review highlights recently published studies on microalgae water demand and water recycling in microalgae cultivation. Strategies to reduce water footprint for microalgal cultivation, advantages and disadvantages of water recycling, and approaches to mitigate the negative effects of water reuse within the context of water and energy saving are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
Number of pages9
JournalBioresource Technology
StatePublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Microalgae cultivation
  • Water footprint
  • Water recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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