Dual application of duckweed and azolla plants for wastewater treatment and renewable fuels and petrochemicals production



N. Muradov; M. Taha; A. F. Miranda; K. Kadali; A. Gujar; S. Rochfort; T. Stevenson; A. S. Ball;A. Mouradov


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Abbreviated Journal Title

Biotechnol. Biofuels


Algae; Biofuel; Bioremediation; Pyrolysis; Swine wastewater; Thermochemical conversion; PROTEIN BIOMASS PRODUCTION; NUTRIENT REMOVAL; LEMNA-MINOR; AQUATIC; MACROPHYTES; LANDOLTIA-PUNCTATA; GROWING DUCKWEED; SWINE WASTE; PYROLYSIS; RECOVERY; PONDS; Biotechnology & Applied Microbiology; Energy & Fuels


Background: Shortages in fresh water supplies today affects more than 1 billion people worldwide. Phytoremediation strategies, based on the abilities of aquatic plants to recycle nutrients offer an attractive solution for the bioremediation of water pollution and represents one of the most globally researched issues. The subsequent application of the biomass from the remediation for the production of fuels and petrochemicals offers an ecologically friendly and cost-effective solution for water pollution problems and production of value-added products. Results: In this paper, the feasibility of the dual application of duckweed and azolla aquatic plants for wastewater treatment and production of renewable fuels and petrochemicals is explored. The differences in absorption rates of the key wastewater nutrients, ammonium and phosphorus by these aquatic macrophytes were used as the basis for optimization of the composition of wastewater effluents. Analysis of pyrolysis products showed that azolla and algae produce a similar range of bio-oils that contain a large spectrum of petrochemicals including straight-chain C10-C21 alkanes, which can be directly used as diesel fuel supplement, or a glycerin-free component of biodiesel. Pyrolysis of duckweed produces a different range of bio-oil components that can potentially be used for the production of "green" gasoline and diesel fuel using existing techniques, such as catalytic hydrodeoxygenation. Conclusions: Differences in absorption rates of the key wastewater nutrients, ammonium and phosphorus by different aquatic macrophytes can be used for optimization of composition of wastewater effluents. The generated data suggest that the composition of the petrochemicals can be modified in a targeted fashion, not only by using different species, but also by changing the source plants' metabolic profile, by exposing them to different abiotic or biotic stresses. This study presents an attractive, ecologically friendly and cost-effective solution for efficient bio-filtration of swine wastewater and petrochemicals production from generated biomass.

Journal Title

Biotechnology for Biofuels



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