Wastewater Treatment Integrated with Algae Production for Biofuel

  • Anju Dahiya
  • John H. Todd
  • Anthony McInnis
Part of the Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology book series (COLE, volume 25)


The US Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 fuels standard mandates the production of 36 billion gallons (1.363 × 1011 L) of renewable fuels by the year 2022. Similar production goals have been set up in many other countries worldwide. Among biofuels, algae hold the potential to meet the standard, especially due to the high (15–300 times) oil yield per acre as compared to traditional biofuel crops (corn, soybean, etc.). The leading algae biofuel research is pointing toward cost-efficiency involved in integrating algae production with wastewater treatment. Wastewaters (municipal, industrial, and agricultural – including the effluent from farm biodigesters) contain organic material that algae can digest and utilize the nutrients (mainly nitrogen and phosphorus), which otherwise pose a threat to natural water bodies. Environmental benefits of algae production coupled with wastewater treatment revenue can possibly offset algae biofuel production costs; however, growing algae for biofuels (especially oils) in wastewater media has proven challenging. We explore some of these issues and challenges.


Total Suspended Solid Municipal Wastewater Volatile Suspended Solid Total Kjeldahl Nitrogen Alga Production 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Funding provided by NSF-EPSCoR (VT) and Department of Energy (via VT Sustainable Jobs Fund) to Anju Dahiya are greatly appreciated. Anthony McInnis would like to acknowledge the generous support of the University of Vermont’s George Washington Henderson Fellowship. The authors also thank Matt Beam for his review of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anju Dahiya
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • John H. Todd
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  • Anthony McInnis
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.General Systems ResearchBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Plant and Soil Science DepartmentUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural ResourcesBurlingtonUSA
  4. 4.Gund Institute for Ecological EconomicsThe University of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  5. 5.John Todd Ecological DesignWoods HoleUSA

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