Microalgae: An Eco-friendly Tool for the Treatment of Wastewaters for Environmental Safety

  • Jae-Hoon Hwang
  • Anwar Sadmani
  • Seung-Jin Lee
  • Keug-Tae Kim
  • Woo Hyoung LeeEmail author


Algae-based wastewater treatment can provide renewable biomass generation for sustainable bioenergy production while treating wastewater as a growth medium for algae cultivation. In addition, algae are excellent at sorbing and/or degrading inorganic materials (e.g., heavy metals) and emerging contaminants (e.g., endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs)), indicating that utilizing an algae-based treatment process is one of emerging strategies for advanced wastewater treatment as an eco-friendly way. Economic advantages and environmental safety associated with algae-based wastewater treatment also constitute a driving force for its utilization in biofuel feedstock generation or fertilizer production. This chapter discusses the principles and rationale for algae-based wastewater treatment coupled with biodegradation of wastewater and renewable energy production. Several biomass technologies for energy production are proposed, which improve the economic feasibility of algal biofuel production. The integration of membrane bioreactors with algae cultivation is also addressed. A new method with separated trophic conditions, enhanced algal nitrification process (EANP), is introduced for practical applications. It seems that pretreatment of raw wastewater and separated culture condition is required to overcome the challenges of scale-up and enhance nitrification rates. Furthermore, synergistic coupling of the microalgae production via advanced wastewater treatment is highlighted in the context of sustainability benefits.


Biodegradation Biofuels Biosorption Enhanced algal nitrification process (EANP) Environmental safety Life cycle assessment (LCA) Microalgae Wastewater 



This work was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) through the University of Central Florida’s NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium and UCF’s Florida Space Institute and Space Florida under grant number NNX15AI10H. This work was also partially supported by NASA (NNX15AN65A) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (No. SU836132).


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jae-Hoon Hwang
    • 1
  • Anwar Sadmani
    • 1
  • Seung-Jin Lee
    • 2
  • Keug-Tae Kim
    • 3
  • Woo Hyoung Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction EngineeringUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer Science, Engineering, and Physics & Department of Geography, Planning, and EnvironmentUniversity of Michigan-FlintFlintUSA
  3. 3.Department of Environmental & Energy EngineeringUniversity of SuwonHwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-doRepublic of Korea (South Korea)

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