Perspectives on the feasibility of using microalgae for industrial wastewater treatment

Yue Wang, Shih Hsin Ho, Chieh Lun Cheng, Wan Qian Guo, Dillirani Nagarajan, Nan Qi Ren, Duu Jong Lee, Jo Shu Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

275 Citations (Scopus)


Although microalgae can serve as an appropriate alternative feedstock for biofuel production, the high microalgal cultivation cost has been a major obstacle for commercializing such attempts. One of the feasible solution for cost reduction is to couple microalgal biofuel production system with wastewater treatment, as microalgae are known to effectively eliminate a variety of nutrients/pollutants in wastewater, such as nitrogen/phosphate, organic carbons, VFAs, pharmaceutical compounds, textile dye compounds, and heavy metals. This review aims to critically discuss the feasibility of microalgae-based wastewater treatment, including the strategies for strain selection, the effect of wastewater types, photobioreactor design, economic feasibility assessment, and other key issues that influence the treatment performance. The potential of microalgae-bacteria consortium for treatment of industrial wastewaters is also discussed. This review provides useful information for developing an integrated wastewater treatment with microalgal biomass and biofuel production facilities and establishing efficient co-cultivation for microalgae and bacteria in such systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)485-497
Number of pages13
JournalBioresource technology
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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