Algae-Bacteria operation processes for waste water treatment and biomass production – ALBAPRO

Auftraggeber/Fördergeber: Papiertechnische Stiftung
Projektpartner: TUHH (DE), CELABOR (BE), PTS (DE)
Projektumfang: 24 Months
Laufzeit: 01/2013 - 12/2014

Background and problem addressed: The importance of algal bacterial flocs has excessively increased worldwide since the submission of cornet proposal “ALBAQUA” in 2008. Especially use of algae for the production of energy and biofuels, as raw material or to reduce greenhouse gases, gained interest of researchers worldwide. Since first results from “ALBAQUA” look promising, effluent treatment with mixed microalgae-bacteria biomass flocs (MaB-flocs) produced lively interest as well, particularly for municipal effluent treatment and in combination with processes for maximum algae biomass production with processes for effluent treatment.
Up to now the conventional way for treating incoming effluents in the paper industry and most other industrial sectors is biological purification. However, biological effluent treatment still consumes a lot of energy and is unpopular for the producing industry due to unwanted costs not covering the core business of the producing industry. Multiple technologies for advanced effluent treatment (evaporation, membrane filtration, oxidation, precipitation…) are in the focus of research for some years. Unfortunately, most of these technologies entail high investment and have even higher operating costs. Especially SMEs can hardly afford to implement highly sophisticated effluent treatment concepts to improve their effluent quality.

Innovation: Results of the ALBAQUA project show that energy consumption and sludge disposal – ongoing dominant cost factors in biological effluent treatment - may be seen as future factors for earnings to maintain high purification efficiency. So, a successful transfer of mostly lab scale tests to technical scale operation should therefore lead to new and innovative concepts for waste water treatment combined with biomass valorisation, which is main aim of the proposed project ALBAPRO. A new type of effluent treatment - operated as profit centre - is expected to generate great advantages, especially for SMEs with low budgets, but of course for all companies engaged in biological effluent treatment.

Project consortium, methodology and goals: A newly established consortium, with partly partners from project “ALBAQUA” and new colleagues from the Czech Republic, mainly plan to continue with trials in half-technical scale for effluents from paper, agro-food industry and meat processing. Goals of this project will be: transfer of successful lab-scale algae-bacteria biomass treatment into technical pilot scale, to open the new technology for a greater extent of industrial sectors and to generate additional profit by improvement of energy output from surplus biomass valorisation, e.g. biohydrogen or biomethane production, re-utilization as feed additive or fertilizer.