Wastewater treatment using Algae in a Photobioreactor

The development of an efficient, low-cost, environmentally friendly method for the treatment of industrial wastewater.


This invention uses a cheap and efficient, ecologically safe hybrid photobioreactor for the simultaneous detoxification of industrial wastewater and production of micro-algal biomass. It is a self-sustaining process using known technologies. Wastewater is treated in a reactor containing active aerobic micro-organisms. Oxygen is fed in from a second compartment, separated from the reactor by a gas permeable membrane. The second compartment contains photosynthetic algae which produce oxygen when exposed to sunlight and consume the carbon dioxide produced by the aerobic micro-organisms. The algae multiply and in this way themselves become an energy-rich biomass.


Wastewater treatment is of major importance to the environment, but conventional methods suffer from both high costs as well as having to dispose of high levels of contaminants extracted from the water. There is thus a need for an efficient, low-cost method of treating wastewater that is also environmentally friendly. Toxic compounds lend themselves to breakdown in the presence of oxygen and the technique of using aerobic bacteria to do this has been known for some time, but the problem of transporting the oxygen to the bacteria has always been a major obstacle to implementing this solution.

Potential Applications

Reactors could be installed both in factories with organic pollutant-containing effluents and also at municipal levels.

The advantages of this invention are:

1.      Safety

·        No pollution of the atmosphere with hazardous substances during photosynthetic aeration.

·        Only energy from sunlight is used

·        No exposure to microbiological hazards

2.      Cost Benefits

·        Commercialization of algal biomass will reduce the cost of wastewater treatment

·        Solar energy is used for the production of oxygen

·        A windfall production of algal biomass


collaborate with  Dr Pnina Vardi

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