BioEnergy Research

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 1204–1215 | Cite as

Anaerobic Co-digestion of Swine Manure and Microalgae Chlorella sp.: Experimental Studies and Energy Analysis

  • Meng Wang
  • Eunyoung Lee
  • Qiong Zhang
  • Sarina J. ErgasEmail author


Integration of algae production with livestock waste management has the potential to recover energy and nutrients from animal manure, while reducing discharges of organic matter, pathogens, and nutrients to the environment. In this study, microalgae Chlorella sp. were grown on centrate from anaerobically digested swine manure. The algae were harvested for mesophilic anaerobic digestion (AD) with swine manure for bioenergy production. Low biogas yields were observed in batch AD studies with algae alone, or when algae were co-digested with swine manure at ≥43 % algae (based on volatile solids [VS]). However, co-digestion of 6–16 % algae with swine manure produced similar biogas yields as digestion of swine manure alone. An average methane yield of 190 mL/g VSfed was achieved in long-term semi-continuous co-digestion studies with 10 ± 3 % algae with swine manure. Data from the experimental studies were used in an energy analysis assuming the process was scaled up to a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) with 7000 pigs with integrated algae-based treatment of centrate and co-digestion of manure and the harvested algae. The average net energy production for the system was estimated at 1027 kWh per day. A mass balance indicated that 58 % of nitrogen (N) and 98 % of phosphorus (P) in the system were removed in the biosolids. A major advantage of the proposed process is the reduction in nutrient discharges compared with AD of swine waste without algae production.


Microalgae Chlorella sp. Swine manure Anaerobic co-digestion CAFO Energy production 



The authors want to acknowledge the assistance of Merrill P. Dilbeck, an undergraduate student at the University of South Florida. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1243510. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (DOCX 409 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Meng Wang
    • 1
  • Eunyoung Lee
    • 1
  • Qiong Zhang
    • 1
  • Sarina J. Ergas
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Civil & Environmental EngineeringUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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