Water is our most precious resource – and protecting it, by removing nutrients during wastewater treatment, is a critical step in reusing what we can, and preserving our lakes, streams, waterways and oceans.
Advanced technologies are harnessing the power of algae in wastewater treatment to more efficiently and sustainably remove toxic pollution and excess nutrients that are increasingly threatening water supplies around the world.
Algae can absorb nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, heavy metals, and other toxic pollutants, producing cleaner water and easing ecosystems impacts. And as algae are cultivated in wastewater treatment applications, they produce biomass that can be processed into a number of valuable products like fertilizers, bioplastics and more.
Water treatment with algae also comes with the advantages of lower energy consumption, lower carbon emissions, and the option to recycle nutrients back into agricultural operations.
Today’s advanced algae treatment technologies carefully control algae growth, often with enclosed bioreactors or other equipment. These methods can offer precise treatment control and better biomass production. They are also much easier to use in municipal and industrial settings than other options.
Advanced algae technologies for water treatment are being put into commercial use around the world. Industrial facilities like paper mills and manufacturing plants can use a low-footprint bioreactor to pre-treat water that must meet strict local regulations. Agricultural and municipal water treatment facilities are using larger-scale facilities to recover phosphorous and nitrogen from wastewater, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, produce clean water, and generate revenue from valuable co-products.
Some of the companies currently leading the effort on algae in wastewater treatment are:
Important research is ongoing at:
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Georgia Tech
- Iowa State University
- Utah State University
- The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and many others.
As water resources continue to be pressured by human development and climate change, and as the financial advantages of using this technology expand, it is very likely that we will soon be seeing more algae treatment operations around the world.
Ready to learn more? ABO members are at the forefront of using algae in wastewater treatment. Contact us today.