2011 Volume 9 Issue 2 Pages 199-207
Freshwater shortage and energy crisis are the two major challenges in the 21st century. The coupling of wastewater treatment and energy production to supply reclaimed water and sustainable energy is a very promising approach to handle these two challenges. A novel process of domestic wastewater reclamation coupled with biofuel/biomass production based on microalgae is proposed in this paper. The organic pollutants in wastewater are separated and concentrated by flocculation and filtration, and nitrogen and phosphorus are used as nutrients for microalgal cultivation. The organics separated and microalgal biomass harvested can be further processed to produce biofuel. The novel process proposed in this paper will bring about innovation in wastewater treatment, and the conventional wastewater treatment process will be transformed from a mere "treatment process" to a "production process" using wastes as raw materials and thereby can produce biofuel and other valuable by-products. At present, this novel process is in the conceptual stage, and some key techniques necessary to be further studied are also discussed in this paper.