Biofuel Production From Municipal Wastewater


Reference: CleanTechnica

Researchers from Rice University are studying the potential for biofuel production using wastewater from wastewater treatment plants. They have shown that biodiesel-producing algae can thrive in municipal wastewater. This algae feeds on the organic matter in the wastewater and produces biodiesel as a byproduct.

In addition to producing biodiesel, the algae is also able to partially treat (i.e. clean) the wastewater. Researchers found that the algae removed 91% of nitrate-N and 53% of phosphorus from the wastewater. This is a win-win situation.

The applicable standard from the NGSS is:

HS-ETS1-3 (high school). Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.

Discuss this method of biodiesel production with respect to the standard.

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One Response to Biofuel Production From Municipal Wastewater

  1. Jon Harding says:

    These rates of nitrate and phosphorus removal are great news for water purification plant designers, but isn’t algae relatively slow growing?

    Would’nt this method, if adopted for a large sewage works, require a very large pond or ponds? In most locations there surely just wouldn’t be enough land for the large maturation ponds needed. I hope I am wrong about this, by the way.

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