Water, Air, & Soil Pollution

, 228:68 | Cite as

Factors Affecting the Growth of Microalgae on Blackwater from Biosolid Dewatering

  • Francesca Marazzi
  • Elena Ficara
  • Riccardo Fornaroli
  • Valeria Mezzanotte


This paper discusses the possibility of including the culturing of microalgae within a conventional wastewater treatment sequence by growing them on the blackwater (BW) from biosolid dewatering to produce biomass to feed the anaerobic digester. Two photobioreactors were used: a 12 L plexiglas column for indoor, lab-scale tests and a 85 L plexiglas column for outdoor culturing. Microalgae (Chlorella sp. and Scenedesmus sp.) could easily grow on the tested blackwater. The average specific growth rate in indoor and outdoor batch tests was satisfactory, ranging between 0.14 and 0.16 day−1. During a continuous test performed under outdoor conditions from May to November, in which the off-gas from the combined heat and power unit was used as the CO2 source, an average biomass production of 50 mgTSS L−1 day−1 was obtained. However, statistical analyses confirmed that microalgal growth was affected by environmental conditions (temperature and season) and that it was negatively correlated with the occurrence of nitrification. Finally, the biochemical methane potential of the algal biomass was slightly higher than that from waste sludge (208 mLCH4 gVS−1 vs. 190 mLCH4 gVS−1).


Microalgae Blackwater Outdoor cultivation Wastewater treatment plant 



We thank Bresso-Seveso Sud WWTP (Amiacque CAP holding) for hosting the experimentation and SEAM staff for helpful collaboration. We gratefully thank the reviewers for their time and efforts to improve this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesca Marazzi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elena Ficara
    • 2
  • Riccardo Fornaroli
    • 1
  • Valeria Mezzanotte
    • 1
  1. 1.DISATUniversità degli Studi di Milano-BicoccaMilanItaly
  2. 2.DICA Politecnico di MilanoMilanItaly

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