Pilot microalgae cultivation using food waste digestate with minimal resource inputs

Tyler J. Barzee, Cody Yothers, Abdolhossein Edalati, Kayla Rude, Allan Chio, Hamed M. El Mashad, Annaliese Franz, Ruihong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Microalgae (Chlorella sorokiniana UTEX 1230) was cultivated in a pilot-scale outdoor system of four 100 L raceway ponds, using diluted ultrafiltered food waste digestate. The system was operated for 400 days using a repeated-batch strategy in Davis, CA with extensive water recycling. Supernatant liquid from FeCl3-assisted algae harvesting was recycled successively five times and resulted in little impact on algae growth, eliminated liquid non-product discharge and freshwater inputs, and decreased coagulant loading requirements for algae harvest. High removals (>70 %) of ammoniacal-N were achieved but water recycling resulted in ion accumulation within the bioreactors. The maximum average algae production was 122 ± 61 g VS m−2 with a maximum average productivity of 17.7 ± 1.8 mg VS L−1 d−1. The results indicate promise for the application of microalgae cultivation on anaerobic digestate and demonstrate an operating strategy with reduced freshwater inputs and water discharge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101200
JournalBioresource Technology Reports
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors


  • Algae harvesting
  • Chlorella sorokiniana
  • Digestate
  • Microalgae cultivation
  • Water recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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