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Balancing Microalgae and Nitrifiers for Wastewater Treatment: Can Inorganic Carbon Limitation Cause an Environmental Threat?

Francesca Casagli 1 Simone Rossi 1 Jean-Philippe Steyer 2 Olivier Bernard 3 Elena Ficara 1
3 BIOCORE - Biological control of artificial ecosystems
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée , LOV - Laboratoire d'océanographie de Villefranche, INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement
Abstract : The first objective of this study is to assess the predictive capability of the ALBA (ALgae-BActeria) model for a pilot-scale (3.8 m 2) highrate algae-bacteria pond treating agricultural digestate. The model, previously calibrated and validated on a one-year data set from a demonstrative-scale raceway (56 m 2), successfully predicted data from a six-month monitoring campaign with a different wastewater (urban wastewater) under different climatic conditions. Without changing any parameter value from the previous calibration, the model accurately predicted both online monitored variables (dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature) and off-line measurements (nitrogen compounds, algal biomass, total and volatile suspended solids, chemical oxygen demand). Supported by the universal character of the model, different scenarios under variable weather conditions were tested, to investigate the effect of key operating parameters (hydraulic retention time, pH regulation, k L a) on algae biomass productivity and nutrient removal efficiency. Surprisingly, despite pH regulation, a strong limitation for inorganic carbon was found to hinder the process efficiency and to generate conditions that are favorable for N 2 O emission. The standard operating parameters have a limited effect on this limitation, and alkalinity turns out to be the main driver of inorganic carbon availability. This investigation offers new insights in algae-bacteria processes and paves the way for the identification of optimal operational strategies.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 6, 2021 - 2:37:25 PM
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Francesca Casagli, Simone Rossi, Jean-Philippe Steyer, Olivier Bernard, Elena Ficara. Balancing Microalgae and Nitrifiers for Wastewater Treatment: Can Inorganic Carbon Limitation Cause an Environmental Threat?. Environmental Science and Technology, American Chemical Society, 2021, 55 (6), pp.3940-3955. ⟨10.1021/acs.est.0c05264⟩. ⟨hal-03219531⟩



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