Hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) is a promising technology to convert wet wastes like septic tank wastes, or septage, to valuable platform chemical, fuels, and materials. However, the byproduct of HTC, process liquid, often contains large amount of nitrogen species (up to 2 g/L of nitrogen), phosphorus, and a variety of organic carbon containing compounds. Therefore, the HTC process liquid is not often treated at wastewater treatment plant. In this study, HTC process liquid was treated with algae as an alternative to commercial wastewater treatment. The HTC process liquid was first diluted and then used to grow Chlorella sp. over a short period of time (15 days). It was found that the algae biomass concentration increased by 644 mg/L over the course of 10 days, and which subsequently removed a majority of the nutrients in the HTC process liquid. Around 600 mg/L of algal biomass was collected in the process liquid at the end of treatment (day 15). Meanwhile, chemical oxygen demand (COD), total phosphorous, total Kheldjal nitrogen, and ammonia were reduced by 70.0, 77.7, 82.2, and 99.0% by fifteen days compared to the untreated wastewater, respectively. This study demonstrates that HTC process liquid can be treated by growing algae creating a potential replacement for expensive synthetic nutrient feeds for algal production.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Algae; Chlorella sp.; Hydrothermal Treatment; Nitrogen Removal; Septage; Wastewater Remediation

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Article - Journal

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Final Version

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Publication Date

24 Jun 2019