Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Thesis

First Advisor

Wang, Lijun

Abstract

This research broadens the scope of research on microalgae grown on swine wastewater as it offers a combination of wastewater treatment and biofuel production. Swine wastewater is an enriched source of phosphorus, nitrogen and other organic compounds that are necessary for the growth of microalgae. While growing in swine wastewater, algae consume the nutrients from the wastewater, so there is no need of arable land for their growth. Current biofuel production relies on limited arable lands to supply feedstock making it impossible to meet the global biofuel demands without disrupting food production. Algae can potentially produce 1,000-4,000 gallons of oil/acre/yr which is significantly higher than other oil seed crops that are being used now. In this research, suitable culture conditions (temperature, light intensity etc) were determined for the growth of microalgae in swine wastewater at the farm of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCAT), which is very easy to achieve naturally, and the conditions were optimized to get the maximum removal of nutrients for wastewater treatment. Two commercial microalgae strains of C. vulgaris and C. reinhardtii were studied and the highest specific growth rate was found to be 1.336 day-1 for C. vulgaris which were grown in 100% swine wastewater at a temperature of 25°C and light intensity of 600 μmolm-2s-1. A selective strain from NCAT farm was compared with these two commercial strains and was found to be more effective as a feedstock of biofuel.

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