Control of algal production in a high rate algal pond: investigation through batch and continuous experiments

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For decades, arid and semi-arid regions in Africa have faced issues related to water availability for drinking, irrigation and livestock purposes. To tackle these issues, a laboratory scale greywater treatment system based on high rate algal pond (HRAP) technology was investigated in order to guide the operation of the pilot plant implemented in the 2iE campus in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). Because of the high suspended solids concentration generally found in effluents of this system, the aim of this study is to improve the performance of HRAPs in term of algal productivity and removal. To determine the selection mechanism of self-flocculated algae, three sets of sequencing batch reactors (SBRs) and three sets of continuous flow reactors (CFRs) were operated. Despite operation with the same solids retention time and the similarity of the algal growth rate found in these reactors, the algal productivity was higher in the SBRs owing to the short hydraulic retention time of 10 days in these reactors. By using a volume of CFR with twice the volume of our experimental CFRs, the algal concentration can be controlled during operation under similar physical conditions in both reactors.

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