Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 93–105 | Cite as

In situ biological CO2 fixation and wastewater nutrient removal with Neochloris oleoabundans in batch photobioreactor

  • S. A. RazzakEmail author
Research Paper


Microalgae cultivation in wastewater media in phototrophic condition is a promising approach for integrated CO2 biofixation and wastewater treatment. For this, Neochloris oleoabundans was used to investigate the tertiary treatment of wastewater along with CO2 biofixation. In this investigation, biomass productivity, CO2 biofixation rate and percentage of total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) removal from synthetic wastewater are considered under three different operating conditions: temperature, CO2 feed concentration and nitrogen to phosphorus (NP) ratio in the media. Cultivation of N. oleoabundans was found to be highly temperature sensitive. With the increase of cultivation temperature from 25 to 45 °C, declining trends of biomass concentration, productivity and percentage of TN and TP removal were observed. Cultivation temperature of 25 °C was found to be most favorable in terms of biomass productivity, CO2 biofixation rate, percentage of TN and TP removal of 92 (mg L−1 day−1), 145 (mg L−1 day−1), 100% and 32%, respectively. Arrhenius-type kinetic model was used and the model showed good agreement with the experimental findings. Activation energy for the active stage and decay stage was found to be \({E_{\text{a}}}\) = 88.8 kJ mol−1 and \({E_{\text{d}}}\) = 8.4 kJ mol−1, respectively. With the increase of CO2 feed concentration, biomass productivity increased and the maximum biomass concentration and productivity was achieved at 6%. After that with the increase in CO2, a declining trend was observed. With the increase of NP ratio from 1:1 to 2:1, both the biomass productivity and CO2 biofixation were increased, but later were subsequently decreased with increase of NP ratio from 4:1 to 8:1. It is interesting that TP removal was increased with NP ratio and 100 percent of TP removal was achieved at 4:1 and 8:1 conditions.


Microalgae Biomass CO2 biofixation Wastewater treatment Nutrient removal 

List of symbols


Optical density


Bold’s basal medium

\({\mu _{\text{g}}}\)

Specific growth rate

\({\mu _{\text{m}}}\)

Maximum specific growth rate


Biomass productivity (mg L−1 day−1)

\({X_1}\) and \({X_2}\)

Biomass weight (mg) at the time \({t_1}~\) and \({t_2}\)

\({X_{\text{t}}}\) and \({X_0}\)

Biomass weight (mg) at the initial time, \({t_0}\) and at the end of the cultivation period \({t_{\text{t}}}\)


CO2 biofixation rate (mg L−1 day−1)


Carbon content


Molecular weight of CO2


Molecular weight of carbon


Temperature (°C)


Reference temperature (°C)


Fittings parameters


Substrate concentrations at the initial time, \({t_0}\)


Substrate concentrations at the end of the cultivation period \({t_{\text{t}}}\)


Activation energy at the active and decay phase



The author would like to gratefully acknowledge the support provided by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) through the Science & Technology Unit at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) for funding this work through project No. NSTIP # 13-WAT96-04 as part of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan.

Supplementary material

449_2018_2017_MOESM1_ESM.docx (13 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 13 KB)
449_2018_2017_MOESM2_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 16 KB)


  1. 1.
    Rodolfi L, Chini ZG, Bassi N, Padovani G, Biondi N, Bonini G, Tredici MR (2009) Microalgae for oil: strain selection, induction of lipid synthesis and outdoor mass cultivation in a low-cost photobioreactor. Biotechnol Bioeng 102:100–112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Khondaker AN, Rahman SM, Malik K, Hossain N, Razzak SA, Khan RA (2015) Dynamics of energy sector and greenhouse emissions in Saudi Arabia. Clim Policy 15(4):517–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ramdin M, de Loos TW, Vlugt TJ (2012) State-of-the-art of CO2 capture with ionic liquids. Ind Eng Chem Res 51(24):8149–8177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Yadav G, Sen R (2017) Microalgal green refinery concept for biosequestration of carbon-dioxide vis-à-vis wastewater remediation and bioenergy production: Recent technological advances in climate research. J CO2 Utiliz 17:188–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Razzak SA, Ali SA, Hossain MM, de Lasa H (2017) Biological CO2 fixation with production of microalgae in wastewater—a review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 76:379–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Razzak SA, Ali SA, Ilyas M, Hossain MM, Moutanda A (2016) Biological CO2 fixation using Chlorella vulgaris and its co-pyrolysis characteristics through thermogravimetric analysis, BBBSE-16-0199. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 39:1651–1658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Yadav G, Karemore A, Dash SK, Sen R (2015) Performance evaluation of a green process for microalgal CO2 sequestration in closed photobioreactor using flue gas generated in-situ. Bioresour Technol 191:399–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Razzak SA, Hossain MM, Lucky RA, Bassi AS, deLasa H (2013) Integrated CO2 capture, wastewater treatment and biofuel production by microalgae culturing—a review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 27:622–653CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Levine RB, Pinnarat T, Savage PE (2010) Biodiesel production from wet algal biomass through in situ lipid hydrolysis and supercritical transesterification. Energy Fuels 24:235–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tebbani S, Lopes F, Filali R, Dumur D, Pareau D (2014) Nonlinear predictive control for maximization of CO2 bio-fixation by microalgae in a photo-bioreactor. Bioprocess Biosyst Eng 37:83–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tang D, Han W, Li P, Miao X, Zhong J (2011) CO2 biofixation and fatty acid composition of Scenedesmus obliquus and Chlorella pyrenoidosa in response to different CO2 levels. Bioresour Technol 102:3071–3076CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Judd S, van den Broeke LJ, Shurair M, Kuti Y, Znad H (2015) Algal remediation of CO2 and nutrient discharges: a review. Water Res 87:356–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ruiz-Martinez A, Martin Garcia N, Romero I, Seco A, Ferrer J (2012) Microalgae cultivation in wastewater: nutrient removal from anaerobic membrane bioreactor effluent. Bioresour Technol 126(0):247–253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Cai T, Park SY, Li Y (2013) Nutrient recovery from wastewater streams by microalgae: status and prospects. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 19:360–369CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jeon H, Lee Y, Chang KS, Lee CG, Jin E (2013) Enhanced production of biomass and lipids by supplying CO2 in marine microalga Dunaliella sp. J Microbiol 51:773–776CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kao CY, Chen TY, Chang YB, Chiu TW, Lin HY, Chen CD, Chang JH, Lin CS (2014) Utilization of carbon dioxide in industrial flue gases for the cultivation of microalga Chlorella sp. Bioresour Technol 166:485–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Cho S, Luong TT, Lee D, Oh U-K, Lee T (2011) Reuse of effluent water from a municipal wastewater treatment plant in microalgae cultivation for biofuel production. Bioresour Technol 102:8639–8645CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wang L, Min M, Li Y, Chen P, Chen Y, Liu Y, Wang Y, Ruan RR (2010) Cultivation of green algae Chlorella sp. in different wastewaters from municipal wastewater treatment plant. Appl Biochem Biotechnol 162:1174–1186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Xin L, Hong-ying H, Ke G, Ying-xue S (2010) Effects of different nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations on the growth, nutrient uptake, and lipid accumulation of a freshwater microalga Scenedesmus sp. Bioresour Technol 101:5494–5500CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Santos AM, Janssen M, Lamers PP, Evers WAC, Wijffels RH (2012) Growth of oil accumulating microalga Neochloris oleoabundans under alkaline–saline conditions. Bioresour Technol 104:593–599CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Peng L, Lan CQ, Zhang Z, Sarch C, Laporte M (2015) Control of protozoa contamination and lipid accumulation in Neochloris oleoabundans culture: effects of pH and dissolved inorganic carbon. Bioresour Technol 197:143–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Widjaja A, Chien C, Yi-Hsu J (2009) Study of increasing lipid production from fresh water microalgae Chlorella vulgaris. J Taiwan Inst Chem Eng 40:13–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Sorensen BH, Nyholm N, Baun A (1996) Algal toxicity tests with volatile and hazardous compounds in air-tight test flasks with CO2 enriched headspace. Chemosphere 32(8):1513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Razzak SA, Al Aslani I, Hossain MM (2016) Hydrodynamics and mass transfer of CO2 in water in a tubular photobioreactor. Eng Life Sci 16:355–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    McGinn PJ,. Dickinson KE, Bhatti S, Frigon J-C, Guiot SR, O’Leary SJB (2011) Integration of microalgae cultivation with industrial waste remediation for biofuel and bioenergy production: opportunities and limitations. Photosynth Res 109(1–3):231–247CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Wang L (2006) Recommendations for design parameters for central composite designs with restricted randomization. PhD Thesis, Virginia Polytechnique InstituteGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Perez EB, Pina IC, Rodriguez LP (2008) Kinetic model for growth of Phaeodactylum tricornutum in intensive culture photobioreactor. Biochem Eng J 40:520–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Ota M, Takenaka M, Sato Y, Lee R, Inomata H (2015) Effects of light intensity and temperature on photoautotrophic growth of a green microalga, Chlorococcum littorale. Biotechnol Rep 7:24–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Chittra Y, Benjamas C (2011) Effect of nitrogen, salt, and iron content in the growth medium and light intensity on lipid production by microalgae isolated from fresh water sources in Thailand. Bioresour Technol 102:3034–3040CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ji MK, Abou-Shanab RAI, Kim SH, El-Sayed S, Lee SH, Kabra AN, Lee YS, Hong S, Jeon BH (2013) Cultivation of microalgae species in tertiary municipal wastewater supplemented with CO2 for nutrient removal and biomass production. Ecol Eng 58:142–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ho SH, Chen CY, Chang JS (2010) Scenedesmus obliquus CNW-N as a potential candidate for CO2 mitigation and biodiesel production. Bioresour Technol 101:8725–8730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Wagenen JV, Miller TW, Hobbs S, Hook P, Crowe B, Huesemann M (2012) Effects of light and temperature on fatty acid production in Nannochloropsis salina. Energies 5(3):731–740CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringKing Fahd University of Petroleum and MineralsDhahranSaudi Arabia

Personalised recommendations