Photobioreactor Technology for Water Pollution - Water and Wastewater
Freshwater is a limited resource and water quality is under constant pressure from both natural and anthropogenic processes such as sewage treatment and industrial effluent.
Preserving freshwater quality is important for drinking water supply, food production and recreational water use. Preserving our marine environment is of equal importance.
Sewage discharge is causing serious damage to our coastal biodiversity and in many locations, seafood abundance and quality is on the decline.
Conventional sewage technology is expensive, energy intensive, a significant greenhouse gas emitter ~4% Total UK emissions) and generally incapable to removing nutrients and other recalcitrant solutes from sewage discharges. These partially treated discharges more increasingly result in toxic blooms we observe in lakes, rivers and oceans. Nitrogen and phosphorous levels have been increasing in both freshwater and marine environments and are now considered major contaminants.
Water, nutrients and energy issues are inextricably connected, and microalgae can exploit these connections.
Analogous to a controlled algal bloom, we can take advantage of the ability of microalgae to remove nutrients and other contaminants from wastewater as they photosynthesise, grow and divide.