Development of a benthic algae cultivation system for bioenergy applications, wastewater treatment and carbon cycling
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Benthic (attached) algae show significant potential to yield high biomass productivity and are effective in treating wastewater. The present study investigates a benthic algae cultivation system for biomass productivity for biofuels production and nutrient removal from a carpet industrial wastewater using two solid materials- Geotextile-fiberglass and Linen. Four horizontal biomat reactors were developed and a grid-method of biomass sampling was employed to establish daily productivity trends for the biomats. The maximum productivities achieved were in the range of 50 – 60 g m-2 d-1 for both materials and minimum productivities of 11.25 g m-2 d-1 for linen and 17.99 g m-2 d-1 for geotextile-fiberglass material. An average of 60-80% Total Nitrogen, >90% Nitrates, 80% Ammonia and 57.2% Total Phosphorus removals from wastewater by the benthic algae system was recorded. The biomass has been characterized with an energy value of 21 MJ/kg thereby making the entire system viable and feasible for bioenergy production.