Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 525–534 | Cite as

Development of an attached microalgal growth system for biofuel production

Biotechnological Products and Process Engineering

Abstract

Algal biofuel production has gained a renewed interest in recent years but is still not economically feasible due to several limitations related to algal culture. The objective of this study is to explore a novel attached culture system for growing the alga Chlorella sp. as biodiesel feedstock, with dairy manure wastewater being used as growth medium. Among supporting materials tested for algal attachment, polystyrene foam led to a firm attachment, high biomass yield (25.65 g/m2, dry basis), and high fatty acid yield (2.31 g/m2). The biomass attached on the supporting material surface was harvested by scraping; the residual colonies left on the surface served as inoculum for regrowth. The algae regrowth on the colony-established surface resulted in a higher biomass yield than that from the initial growth on fresh surface due to the downtime saved for initial algal attachment. The 10-day regrowth culture resulted in a high biodiesel production potential with a fatty acid methyl esters yield of 2.59 g/m2 and a productivity of 0.26 g/m−2 day−1. The attached algal culture also removed 61–79% total nitrogen and 62–93% total phosphorus from dairy manure wastewater, depending on different culture conditions. The biomass harvested from the attached growth system (through scraping) had a water content of 93.75%, similar to that harvested from suspended culture system (through centrifugation). Collectively, the attached algal culture system with polystyrene foam as a supporting material demonstrated a good performance in terms of biomass yield, biodiesel production potential, ease to harvest biomass, and physical robustness for reuse.

Keywords

Algal biofuel Attached growth Chlorella Lipids Microalgae mass culture Waste water treatment 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully acknowledge Virginia Tech Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and USDA CSREES (2006-38909-03484) for their financial support of this project.

References

  1. APHA (1995) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastewater, 19th edn. APHA, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  2. Baum R (1994) Microalgae are possible source of biodiesel fuel. Chem Eng News 72:28–29Google Scholar
  3. Canakci M, Van Gerpen J (2001) Biodiesel production from oils and fats with high free fatty acids. Trans ASAE 44:1429–1436Google Scholar
  4. Chi ZY, Pyle D, Wen ZY, Frear C, Chen SL (2007) A laboratory study of producing docosahexaenoic acid from biodiesel-waste glycerol by microalgal fermentation. Process Biochem 42:1537–1545CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chisti Y (2007) Biodiesel from microalgae. Biotechnol Adv 25:294–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Christie WW (2003) Lipid analysis: isolation, separation, identification and structural analysis of lipids. Oily Press, BridgwaterGoogle Scholar
  7. Grima EM, Belarbi EH, Fernandez FGA, Medina AR, Chisti Y (2003) Recovery of microalgal biomass and metabolites: process options and economics. Biotechnol Adv 20:491–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hu Q, Sommerfeld M, Jarvis E, Ghirardi M, Posewitz M, Seibert M, Darzins A (2008) Microalgal triacylglycerols as feedstocks for biofuel production: perspectives and advances. Plant J 54:621–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Kebede-Westhead E, Pizarro C, Mulbry WW, Wilkie AC (2003) Production and nutrient removal by periphyton grown under different loading rates of anaerobically digested flushed dairy manure. J Phycol 39:1275–1282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kebede-Westhead E, Pizarro C, Mulbry WW (2006) Treatment of swine manure effluent using freshwater algae: production, nutrient recovery, and elemental composition of algal biomass at four effluent loading rates. J Appl Phycol 18:41–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Li XF, Xu H, Wu QY (2007) Large-scale biodiesel production from microalga Chlorella protothecoides through heterotrophic cultivation in bioreactors. Biotechnol Bioeng 98:764–771CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Miao XL, Wu QY (2006) Biodiesel production from heterotrophic microalgal oil. Bioresour Technol 97:841–846CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mulbry WW, Wilkie AC (2001) Growth of benthic freshwater algae on dairy manures. J Appl Phycol 13:301–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mulbry W, Kondrad S, Buyer J (2008) Treatment of dairy and swine manure effluents using freshwater algae: fatty acid content and composition of algal biomass at different manure loading rates. J Appl Phycol 20:1079–1085CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pizarro C, Mulbry W, Blersch D, Kangas P (2006) An economic assessment of algal turf scrubber technology for treatment of dairy manure effluent. Ecol Eng 26:321–327CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ratledge C, Wilkinson SG (1988) An overview of microbial lipids. In: Ratledge C, Wilkinson SG (eds) Microbial lipids. Academic, London, pp 3–22Google Scholar
  17. Rodolfi L, Zittelli GC, Bassi N, Padovani G, Biondi N, Bonini G, Tredici MR (2009) Microalgae for oil: strain selection, induction of lipid synthesis and outdoor mass cultivation in a low-cost photobioreactor. Biotechnol Bioeng 102:100–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Schreiner M (2006) Optimization of solvent extraction and direct transmethylation methods for the analysis of egg yolk lipids. Int J Food Prop 9:573–581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sheehan J, Dunahay T, Benemann J, Roessler P (1998) A look back at the US Department of Energy’s Aquatic Species Program: biodiesel from algae. NREL/TP 580–24190. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, GoldenGoogle Scholar
  20. Shen Y, Yuan W, Pei Z, Mao E (2008) Culture of microalga Botryococcus in livestock wastewater. Trans ASABE 51:1395–1400Google Scholar
  21. Starr RC, Zeikus JA (1993) UTEX—the culture collection of algae at the University-of-Texas at Austin 1993 list of cultures. J Phycol 29:1–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Stevenson RJ, Bothwell ML, Lowe RL (1996) Algal ecology: freshwater benthic ecosystems. Academic, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  23. Tsukahara K, Sawayama S (2005) Liquid fuel production using microalgae. J Japan Petrol Inst 48:251–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ulberth F, Henninger M (1992) One-step extraction methylation method for determining the fatty-acid composition of processed foods. J Am Oil Chem Soc 69:174–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Whitford LA, Schumacher GJ (1961) Effects of current on mineral uptake and respiration by fresh-water alga. Limnol Oceanogr 6:423–425CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wilkie AC, Mulbry WW (2002) Recovery of dairy manure nutrients by benthic freshwater algae. Bioresour Technol 84:81–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Xu H, Miao XL, Wu QY (2006) High quality biodiesel production from a microalga Chlorella protothecoides by heterotrophic growth in fermenters. J Biotechnol 126:499–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological Systems EngineeringVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations