Algae for Wastewater Treatment and CO₂ Sequestration along with Recovery of Bio-Oil and Value Added Products
Concern about global warming and energy security has led to increased biomass utilization as an alternative feedstock to fossil fuels. Biomass is a promising feedstock since it is abundant and cheap and can be transformed into fuels and chemical products. Microalgae biofuels are likely to have a much lower impact on the environment. Microalgae cultivation using sewage with industrial flue gases is a promising concept for integrated biodiesel production, CO₂ sequestration, and nutrients recovery. Autotrophic, Mixotrophic, and Heterotrophic are the three modes of cultivation for microalgae biomass. Several mechanical and chemical processes are available for the extraction of lipids/oily components from microalgae biomass. In organic solvent extraction methods, a prior drying of biomass and recovery of the solvent is required, which are energy-intensive. Thus, the hydrothermal process overcomes the drawbacks of conventional solvent extraction methods. In the hydrothermal process, the biomass is converted into oily components by processing in a hot, pressurized water environment. In this process, in addition to the lipid fraction of microalgae, other value-added products such as proteins, carbohydrates, and nutrients can also be recovered. In the present study was (Scenedesmus quadricauda) was isolated and cultivated in autotrophic, heterotrophic, and mixotrophically using sewage wastewater and industrial flue gas in batch and continuous mode. The harvested algae biomass from S. quadricauda was used for the recovery of lipids and bio-oil. The lipids were extracted from the algal biomass using sonication as a cell disruption method followed by solvent (Hexane) extraction, and the lipid yield obtained was 8.3 wt% with Palmitic acid, Oleic acid, and Octadeonoic acid as fatty acids. The hydrothermal process was also carried out for extraction of bio-oil, and the yield obtained was 18wt%. The bio-oil compounds such as nitrogenous compounds, organic acids, and esters, phenolics, hydrocarbons, and alkanes were obtained by the hydrothermal process of algal biomass. Nutrients such as NO₃⁻ (68%) and PO₄⁻ (15%) were also recovered along with bio-oil in the hydrothermal process.