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Title: Development Of Nutrient And Water Recycling Capabilities In Algae Biofuels Production Systems. Final Summary Report

Abstract

The objective of this project was to develop and demonstrate methods of recycling of water and nutrients for algal biofuels production. Recycling was accomplished both internal to the system and, in a broader sense, through import and reuse of municipal wastewater. Such an integrated system with wastewater input had not been demonstrated previously, and the performance was unknown, particularly in terms of influence of recycling on algal productivity and the practical extent of nutrient recovery from biomass residuals. Through long-term laboratory and pilot research, the project resulted in the following: 1. Bench-scale pretreatment of algal biomass did not sufficiently increase methane yield of nutrient solubilization during anaerobic digestion to warrant incorporation of pre-treatment into the pilot plant. The trial pretreatments were high-pressure orifice homogenization, sonication, and two types of heat treatment. 2. Solubilization of biomass particulate nutrients by lab anaerobic digesters ranged from 20% to nearly 60% for N and 40-65% for P. Subsequent aerobic degradation of the anaerobically digested biomass simulated raceways receiving whole digestate and resulted in an additional 20-55% N solubilization and additional 20% P solubilization. 3. Comparisons of laboratory and pilot digesters showed that laboratory units were reasonable proxies for pilot-scale. 4. Pilot-scale anaerobic digesters weremore » designed, installed, and operated to digest algal biomass. Nutrient re-solubilization by the digesters was monitored and whole digestate was successfully used as a fertilizer in pilot algae raceways. 5. Unheated, unmixed digesters achieved greater methane yield and nutrient solubilization than heated, mixed digesters, presumably due to longer the solids residence times in unmixed digesters. The unmixed, unheated pilot digesters yielded 0.16 L CH4/g volatile solids (VS) introduced with 0.15 g VS/L-d organic loading and 16oC average temperature. A conventional heated mixed lab digester yielded 0.22 L CH4/g VS with 0.25 g VS/L-d and 30oC. The highest yield (0.30 L CH4/g VS) was achieved by the unmixed lab digesters operated at a constant 20oC. All digesters were operated with a 40-d hydraulic residence time. 6. In general, 50-75% of initial particulate N and P could be solubilized during anaerobic digestion and available for subsequent rounds of algae cultivation. 7. Bench-scale experiments showed the recovery from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) wastewater of carbon via anaerobic digestion and of nutrients to grow algae. To satisfy the nitrogen demand of algae cultivation, HTL wastewater would be diluted 400-fold, which was found to eliminate inhibition of algae growth by HTL wastewater. 8. Anaerobic digestion methane yield was lower for algal biomass containing coagulants such as would be used to aid harvesting or dewatering. Depending on doses, starch-based coagulant decreased yield by 10-14% and aluminum chlorohydrate decreased it by 14-26%. The lowest yield was 0.28 L CH 4/g volatile solids introduced to the digesters. 9. Algae harvested from raceways operated on recycled water had methane yields 13% higher than algae from raceways operated on both recycled water and nutrients provided by algae digestate. The slightly lower yield was expected due to the presence of previously digested biomass from the digestate fertilizer. 10. Defined media was replenished with nutrients and recycled repeatedly in sequential batch growth of Chlorella sorokiniana (DOE 1412). This laboratory study tested for inhibition and accumulation of inhibiting compounds (allelopathic or auto-inhibitory substances), information that would help estimate the blowdown ratio needed for an integrated system. In laboratory experiments in which water was recycled a total of five times, each successive round of reuse resulted in an average 4±3% reduction in log-phase specific growth rates. However, linear-phase growth inhibition was only observed in the final fifth round of reuse. 11. No decline in productivity was detected after 15 rounds of water recycling with nutrients provided by whole digestate in lab cultivation. Lab tests allowed for steady light and temperature, increasing the ability to detect inhibition. 12. In initial pilot inhibition studies, wastewater growth media was reused once while productivity was monitored. Media reuse was accomplished with triplicate sets of 33-m2 raceways operated in series. First-round gross productivity (based on effluent biomass flow) averaged 23 g/m 2-day annually while second-round gross productivity averaged 19 g/m 2-day annually. In terms of net productivity (based on raceway effluent biomass minus influent biomass), the first-round productivity averaged 15 g/m2-d and second round averaged 13 g/m 2-d during June-September operation. The higher productivity in the first-round ponds was likely due to heterotrophic/mixotrophic growth on the wastewater organic matter. 13. In a culminating pilot experiment, coagulant was used to decrease the carry-over of unsettled algae into subsequent rounds of growth. Over nearly 8 months, 93% of the media (the equivalent of 14 rounds of water reuse) was recycled without significant productivity loss compared to controls. Ponds receiving both recycled water and nutrients had net productivities of 14-24 g/m 2-d during fall and mid-summer, respectively. 14. Techno-economic analysis of the proposed facility found minimum fuel selling price to range from $7.01/gallon gasoline equivalent without revenue other than fuel to $3.85/GGE with revenue from wastewater treatment fees and LCFS and RIN (Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Renewable Identification Numbers) credits. 15. Life cycle assessment indicated GHG emissions of 40.7 g CO 2/MJ fuel and a net energy ratio (energy required/energy produced) of 0.37.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [2];  [3]
  1. California Polytechnic State Univ. (CalPoly), San Luis Obispo, CA (United States). Civil and Environmental Engineering Dept.
  2. California Polytechnic State Univ. (CalPoly), San Luis Obispo, CA (United States)
  3. California Polytechnic State Univ. (CalPoly), San Luis Obispo, CA (United States). Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
California Polytechnic State Univ. (CalPoly), San Luis Obispo, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1418018
Report Number(s):
9.5.-1.5
DOE Contract Number:
EE0005994
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS; Biomass energy; biofuels; algae fuel; microalgae; wastewater; nutrients

Citation Formats

Lundquist, Tryg, Spierling, Ruth, Poole, Kyle, Blackwell, Shelley, Crowe, Braden, Hutton, Matt, and Lehr, Corinne. Development Of Nutrient And Water Recycling Capabilities In Algae Biofuels Production Systems. Final Summary Report. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1418018.
Lundquist, Tryg, Spierling, Ruth, Poole, Kyle, Blackwell, Shelley, Crowe, Braden, Hutton, Matt, & Lehr, Corinne. Development Of Nutrient And Water Recycling Capabilities In Algae Biofuels Production Systems. Final Summary Report. United States. doi:10.2172/1418018.
Lundquist, Tryg, Spierling, Ruth, Poole, Kyle, Blackwell, Shelley, Crowe, Braden, Hutton, Matt, and Lehr, Corinne. 2018. "Development Of Nutrient And Water Recycling Capabilities In Algae Biofuels Production Systems. Final Summary Report". United States. doi:10.2172/1418018. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1418018.
@article{osti_1418018,
title = {Development Of Nutrient And Water Recycling Capabilities In Algae Biofuels Production Systems. Final Summary Report},
author = {Lundquist, Tryg and Spierling, Ruth and Poole, Kyle and Blackwell, Shelley and Crowe, Braden and Hutton, Matt and Lehr, Corinne},
abstractNote = {The objective of this project was to develop and demonstrate methods of recycling of water and nutrients for algal biofuels production. Recycling was accomplished both internal to the system and, in a broader sense, through import and reuse of municipal wastewater. Such an integrated system with wastewater input had not been demonstrated previously, and the performance was unknown, particularly in terms of influence of recycling on algal productivity and the practical extent of nutrient recovery from biomass residuals. Through long-term laboratory and pilot research, the project resulted in the following: 1. Bench-scale pretreatment of algal biomass did not sufficiently increase methane yield of nutrient solubilization during anaerobic digestion to warrant incorporation of pre-treatment into the pilot plant. The trial pretreatments were high-pressure orifice homogenization, sonication, and two types of heat treatment. 2. Solubilization of biomass particulate nutrients by lab anaerobic digesters ranged from 20% to nearly 60% for N and 40-65% for P. Subsequent aerobic degradation of the anaerobically digested biomass simulated raceways receiving whole digestate and resulted in an additional 20-55% N solubilization and additional 20% P solubilization. 3. Comparisons of laboratory and pilot digesters showed that laboratory units were reasonable proxies for pilot-scale. 4. Pilot-scale anaerobic digesters were designed, installed, and operated to digest algal biomass. Nutrient re-solubilization by the digesters was monitored and whole digestate was successfully used as a fertilizer in pilot algae raceways. 5. Unheated, unmixed digesters achieved greater methane yield and nutrient solubilization than heated, mixed digesters, presumably due to longer the solids residence times in unmixed digesters. The unmixed, unheated pilot digesters yielded 0.16 LCH4/g volatile solids (VS) introduced with 0.15 g VS/L-d organic loading and 16oC average temperature. A conventional heated mixed lab digester yielded 0.22 LCH4/g VS with 0.25 g VS/L-d and 30oC. The highest yield (0.30 LCH4/g VS) was achieved by the unmixed lab digesters operated at a constant 20oC. All digesters were operated with a 40-d hydraulic residence time. 6. In general, 50-75% of initial particulate N and P could be solubilized during anaerobic digestion and available for subsequent rounds of algae cultivation. 7. Bench-scale experiments showed the recovery from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) wastewater of carbon via anaerobic digestion and of nutrients to grow algae. To satisfy the nitrogen demand of algae cultivation, HTL wastewater would be diluted 400-fold, which was found to eliminate inhibition of algae growth by HTL wastewater. 8. Anaerobic digestion methane yield was lower for algal biomass containing coagulants such as would be used to aid harvesting or dewatering. Depending on doses, starch-based coagulant decreased yield by 10-14% and aluminum chlorohydrate decreased it by 14-26%. The lowest yield was 0.28 L CH4/g volatile solids introduced to the digesters. 9. Algae harvested from raceways operated on recycled water had methane yields 13% higher than algae from raceways operated on both recycled water and nutrients provided by algae digestate. The slightly lower yield was expected due to the presence of previously digested biomass from the digestate fertilizer. 10. Defined media was replenished with nutrients and recycled repeatedly in sequential batch growth of Chlorella sorokiniana (DOE 1412). This laboratory study tested for inhibition and accumulation of inhibiting compounds (allelopathic or auto-inhibitory substances), information that would help estimate the blowdown ratio needed for an integrated system. In laboratory experiments in which water was recycled a total of five times, each successive round of reuse resulted in an average 4±3% reduction in log-phase specific growth rates. However, linear-phase growth inhibition was only observed in the final fifth round of reuse. 11. No decline in productivity was detected after 15 rounds of water recycling with nutrients provided by whole digestate in lab cultivation. Lab tests allowed for steady light and temperature, increasing the ability to detect inhibition. 12. In initial pilot inhibition studies, wastewater growth media was reused once while productivity was monitored. Media reuse was accomplished with triplicate sets of 33-m2 raceways operated in series. First-round gross productivity (based on effluent biomass flow) averaged 23 g/m2-day annually while second-round gross productivity averaged 19 g/m2-day annually. In terms of net productivity (based on raceway effluent biomass minus influent biomass), the first-round productivity averaged 15 g/m2-d and second round averaged 13 g/m2-d during June-September operation. The higher productivity in the first-round ponds was likely due to heterotrophic/mixotrophic growth on the wastewater organic matter. 13. In a culminating pilot experiment, coagulant was used to decrease the carry-over of unsettled algae into subsequent rounds of growth. Over nearly 8 months, 93% of the media (the equivalent of 14 rounds of water reuse) was recycled without significant productivity loss compared to controls. Ponds receiving both recycled water and nutrients had net productivities of 14-24 g/m2-d during fall and mid-summer, respectively. 14. Techno-economic analysis of the proposed facility found minimum fuel selling price to range from $7.01/gallon gasoline equivalent without revenue other than fuel to $3.85/GGE with revenue from wastewater treatment fees and LCFS and RIN (Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Renewable Identification Numbers) credits. 15. Life cycle assessment indicated GHG emissions of 40.7 g CO2/MJ fuel and a net energy ratio (energy required/energy produced) of 0.37.},
doi = {10.2172/1418018},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2018,
month = 1
}

Technical Report:

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