Research from Flinders University into a wastewater recycling program has aimed to develop a cost-effective method to produce materials for use in a range of applications, including biofuels.
Flinders University’s development of microalgal biomass harvesting, to produce a sustainable and renewable source for biofuel production, will be matured at two wastewater recycling locations at Kingston-on-Murray and Peterborough, in South Australia.
Using the high-rate algal pond (HRAP) model, the Flinders University research team uses algae and bacteria to treat wastewater.
A new system, using slaked lime and a magnesium concentration to concentrate the microalgae-rich biosolids produced in the HRAP was undertaken by the university.
Chemical reaction modelling was then used to optimise the processing, and the cost of the chemicals was evaluated.
The evaluation also showed that while a conventional system requires 66 days to treat the wastewater, HRAPs can perform a similar level of treatment in 5-10 days.
The research was led by Professor Howard Fallowfield and Dr Paul Young, with Fallowfield saying the evaluation showed that the alternative process showed an equal, if not enhanced ability to remove pathogens.
Fallowfield also said that the latest HRAP study showed that the model could be used to efficiently harvest microalgae grown in a low-cost environment, without the need for further investment in expensive infrastructure.
“The integration of treatment and biosolid recovery offers new configurations for the operation of HRAP-based wastewater treatment systems,” Fallowfield said.