The wide application of microalgae in the field of wastewater treatment and bioenergy source has improved research studies in the past years. Microalgae represent a good source of biomass and bio-products which are used in different medical and industrial activities, among them the production of high-valued products and biofuels. The present review focused on greywater treatment through the application of phycoremediation technique with microalgae and presented recent advances in technologies used for harvesting the microalgae biomass. The advantages and disadvantages of each method are discussed. The microbiological aspects of production, harvesting and utilization of microalgae biomass are viewed.
One of the most challenging issues concerning the gasification of oil palm fronds (OPF) is the presence of tar and particulates formed during the process considering its high volatile matter content. In this study, a tar sampling train custom built based on standard tar sampling protocols was used to quantify the gravimetric concentration of tar (g/Nm3) in syngas produced from downdraft gasification of OPF. The amount of char, ash, and solid tar produced from the gasification process was measured in order to account for the mass and carbon conversion efficiency. Elemental analysis of the char and solid tar samples was done using ultimate analysis machine, while the relative concentration of the different compounds in the liquid tar was determined making use of a liquid gas chromatography (GC) unit. Average tar concentration of 4.928 g/Nm3 and 1.923 g/Nm3 was obtained for raw gas and cleaned gas samples, respectively. Tar concentration in the raw gas sample was found to be higher compared to results for other biomass materials, which could be attributed to the higher volatile matter percentage of OPF. Average cleaning efficiency of 61% which is comparable to that of sand bed filter and venturi scrubber cleaning systems reported in the literature was obtained for the cleaning system proposed in the current study.
Microalgae-based bioproducts are in limelight because of their promising future, novel characteristics, the current situation of population needs, and rising prices of rapidly depleting energy resources. Algae-based products are considered as clean sustainable energy and food resources. At present, they are not commercialized due to their high production cost and low yield. In recent years, novel genome editing tools like RNAi, ZNFs, TALENs, and CRISPR/Cas9 are used to enhance the quality and quantity of the desired products. Genetic and metabolic engineering are frequently applied because of their rapid and precise results than random mutagenesis. Omic approaches help enhance biorefinery capabilities and are now in the developing stage for algae. The future is very bright for transgenic algae with increased biomass yield, carbon dioxide uptake rate, accumulating high-value compounds, reduction in cultivation, and production costs, thus reaching the goal in the global algal market and capital flow. However, microalgae are primary producers and any harmful exposure to the wild strains can affect the entire ecosystem. Therefore, strict regulation and monitoring are required to assess the potential risks before introducing genetically modified microalgae into the natural ecosystem.
With recent advances in novel gene-editing tools such as RNAi, ZFNs, TALENs, and CRISPR-Cas9, the possibility of altering microalgae toward designed properties for various application is becoming a reality. Alteration of microalgae genomes can modify metabolic pathways to give elevated yields in lipids, biomass, and other components. The potential of such genetically optimized microalgae can give a "domino effect" in further providing optimization leverages down the supply chain, in aspects such as cultivation, processing, system design, process integration, and revolutionary products. However, the current level of understanding the functional information of various microalgae gene sequences is still primitive and insufficient as microalgae genome sequences are long and complex. From this perspective, this work proposes to link up this knowledge gap between microalgae genetic information and optimized bioproducts using Artificial Intelligence (AI). With the recent acceleration of AI research, large and complex data from microalgae research can be properly analyzed by combining the cutting-edge of both fields. In this work, the most suitable class of AI algorithms (such as active learning, semi-supervised learning, and meta-learning) are discussed for different cases of microalgae applications. This work concisely reviews the current state of the research milestones and highlight some of the state-of-art that has been carried out, providing insightful future pathways. The utilization of AI algorithms in microalgae cultivation, system optimization, and other aspects of the supply chain is also discussed. This work opens the pathway to a digitalized future for microalgae research and applications.
The huge amount of agro-wastes generated due to expanding agricultural activities can potentially cause serious environmental and human health problems. Using the biorefinery concept, all parts of agricultural plants can be converted into multiple value-added bioproducts while reducing waste generation. This approach can be viewed as an effective strategy in developing and realizing a circular bioeconomy by accomplishing the dual goals of waste mitigation and energy recovery. However, the sustainability issue of biorefineries should still be thoroughly scrutinized using comprehensive resource accounting methods such as exergy-based approaches. In light of that, this study aims to conduct a detailed exergy analysis of whole-crop safflower biorefinery consisting of six units, i.e., straw handling, biomass pretreatment, bioethanol production, wastewater treatment, oil extraction, and biodiesel production. The analysis is carried out to find the major exergy sink in the developed biorefinery and discover the bottlenecks for further performance improvements. Overall, the wastewater treatment unit exhibits to be the major exergy sink, amounting to over 70% of the total thermodynamic irreversibility of the process. The biomass pretreatment and bioethanol production units account for 12.4 and 10.3% of the total thermodynamic inefficiencies of the process, respectively. The exergy rates associated with bioethanol, biodiesel, lignin, biogas, liquid digestate, seed cake, sodium sulfate, and glycerol are determined to be 5918.5, 16516.8, 10778.9, 1741.4, 6271.5, 15755.8, 3.4, and 823.5 kW, respectively. The overall exergetic efficiency of the system stands at 72.7%, demonstrating the adequacy of the developed biorefinery from the thermodynamic perspective.
The combination of superheated steam (SHS) with ligninolytic enzyme laccase pretreatment together with size reduction was conducted in order to enhance the enzymatic hydrolysis of oil palm biomass into glucose. The oil palm empty fruit bunch (OPEFB) and oil palm mesocarp fiber (OPMF) were pretreated with SHS and ground using a hammer mill to sizes of 2, 1, 0.5 and 0.25 mm before pretreatment using laccase to remove lignin. This study showed that reduction of size from raw to 0.25 mm plays important role in lignin degradation by laccase that removed 38.7% and 39.6% of the lignin from OPEFB and OPMF, respectively. The subsequent saccharification process of these pretreated OPEFB and OPMF generates glucose yields of 71.5% and 63.0%, which represent a 4.6 and 4.8-fold increase, respectively, as compared to untreated samples. This study showed that the combination of SHS with laccase pretreatment together with size reduction could enhance the glucose yield.
Algae biomass comprises variety of biochemicals components such as carbohydrates, lipids and protein, which make them a feasible feedstock for biofuel production. However, high production cost mainly due to algae cultivation remains the main challenge in commercializing algae biofuels. Hence, extraction of other high value-added bioproducts from algae biomass is necessary to enhance the economic feasibility of algae biofuel production. This paper is aims to deliberate the recent developments of conventional technologies for algae biofuels production, such as biochemical and chemical conversion pathways, and extraction of a variety of bioproducts from algae biomass for various potential applications. Besides, life cycle evaluation studies on microalgae biorefinery are presented, focusing on case studies for various cultivation techniques, culture medium, harvesting, and dewatering techniques along with biofuel and bioenergy production pathways. Overall, the algae biorefinery provides new opportunities for valorisation of algae biomass for multiple products synthesis.
Microalgae are rich in valuable biomolecules and grow on non-arable land with rapid growth rate, which has a host of new possibility as alternative protein sources. In the present study, extraction of proteins from Chlorella vulgaris via an efficient technique, Liquid Triphasic Flotation (LTF) system, was studied. The optimized conditions in LTF system were 70% v/v of t-butanol, 40% w/v of salt solution, 0.5% w/v of biomass, pH 5.54, 1:1 of salt to t-butanol solution, and 10 min of air flotation time to attain 87.23% of protein recovery and 56.72% of separation efficiency. Besides, the study on recycling t-butanol has demonstrated that only one run was sufficient to maintain the performance of system. The efficiency of LTF in extracting protein has performed better than just Three Phase Partitioning (TPP) system. LTF system is hence an effective protein extraction and purification method with minimum operation unit and processing time.
Zeolite socony mobil-5 (ZSM-5) is a common catalyst used for biomass pyrolysis. Nevertheless, the quantitative information on the catalytic behavior of ZSM-5 on biomass pyrolysis is absent so far. This study focuses on the catalytic pyrolysis phenomena and mechanisms of biomass wastes using ZSM-5 via thermogravimetric analyzer and pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, with particular emphasis on catalytic level identification and aromatic hydrocarbons (AHs) formation. Two biomass wastes of sawdust and sorghum distillery residue (SDR) are investigated, while four biomass-to-catalyst ratios are considered. The analysis suggests that biomass waste pyrolysis processes can be divided into three zones, proceeding from a heat-transfer dominant zone (zone 1) to catalysis dominant zones (zones 2 and 3). The indicators of the intensity of difference (IOD), catalytic effective area, catalytic index (CI), and aromatic enhancement index are conducted to measure the catalytic effect of ZSM-5 on biomass waste pyrolysis and AHs formation. The maximum IOD occurs in zone 2, showing the highest intensity of the catalytic effect. The CI values of the two biomass wastes increase with increasing the biomass-to-catalyst ratio. However, there exists a threshold for sawdust pyrolysis, indicating a limit for the catalytic effect on sawdust. The higher the catalyst addition, the higher the AHs proportion in the vapor stream. When the biomass-to-catalyst ratio is 1/10, AHs formation is intensified significantly, especially for sawdust. Overall, the indexes conducted in the present study can provide useful measures to identify the catalytic pyrolysis dynamics and levels.
Microalgae have become imperative for biological wastewater treatment. Its capability in biological purification of wastewaters from different origins while utilizing wastewater as the substrate for growth has manifest great potentials as a sustainable and economical wastewater treatment method. The wastewater grown microalgae have also been remarked in research to be a significant source of value-added bioproducts and biomaterial. This paper highlights the multifaceted roles of microalgae in wastewater treatment from the extent of microalgal bioremediation function to environmental amelioration with the involvement of microalgal biomass productivity and carbon dioxide fixation. Besides, the uptake mechanism of microalgae in wastewater treatment was discussed in detail with illustrations for a comprehensive understanding of the removal process of undesirable substances. The performance of different microalgae species in the uptake of various substances was studied and summarized in this review. The correlation of microalgal treatment efficacy with various algal strain types and the bioreactors harnessed for cultivation systems was also discussed. Studies on the alternatives to conventional wastewater treatment processes and the integration of microalgae with accordant wastewater treatment methods are presented. Current research on the biological and technical approaches for the modification of algae-based wastewater system and the maximization of biomass production is also reviewed and discussed. The last portion of the review is dedicated to the assertion of challenges and future perspectives on the development of microalgae-based wastewater treatment technology. This review serves as a useful and informative reference for readers regarding the multifaceted roles of microalgae in the application of wastewater biotreatment with detailed discussion on the uptake mechanism.
To valorize biomass waste, pyrolysis of orange peel was mainly investigated as a case study. In an effort to establish a more sustainable thermolytic platform for orange peel, this study particularly employed CO2 as reactive gas medium. Accordingly, this study laid great emphasis on elucidating the mechanistic role of CO2 in pyrolysis of orange peel. The thermo-gravimetric analysis (TGA) confirmed that no occurrence of the heterogeneous reactions between the solid sample and CO2. However, the gaseous effluents from pyrolysis of orange peel experimentally proved that CO2 effectively suppressed dehydrogenation of volatile matters (VMs) evolved from the thermolysis of orange peel by random bond scissions. Moreover, CO2 reacted VMs, thereby resulting in the formation of CO. Note that the formation of CO was being initiated at temperatures ≥550 °C. The two identified roles of CO2 led to the compositional modification of pyrolytic oil by means of lowering aromaticity.
The coexistence of algae and bacteria in nature dates back to the very early stages when life came into existence. The interaction between algae and bacteria plays an important role in the planet ecology, cycling nutrients, and feeding higher trophic levels, and have been evolving ever since. The emerging concept of algal-bacterial consortia is gaining attention, much towards environmental management and protection. Studies have shown that algal-bacterial synergy does not only promote carbon capture in wastewater bioremediation but also consequently produces biofuels from algal-bacterial biomass. This review has evaluated the optimistic prospects of algal-bacterial consortia in environmental remediation, biorefinery, carbon sequestration as well as its contribution to the production of high-value compounds. In addition, algal-bacterial consortia offer great potential in bloom control, dye removal, agricultural biofertilizers, and bioplastics production. This work also emphasizes the advancement of algal-bacterial biotechnology in environmental management through the incorporation of Industry Revolution 4.0 technologies. The challenges include its pathway to greener industry, competition with other food additive sources, societal acceptance, cost feasibility, environmental trade-off, safety and compatibility. Thus, there is a need for further in-depth research to ensure the environmental sustainability and feasibility of algal-bacterial consortia to meet numerous current and future needs of society in the long run.
A continuous increase in the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) is causing serious threats to the environment and life on the earth, and CO2 is one of the major candidates. Reducing the excess CO2 by converting into industrial products could be beneficial for the environment and also boost up industrial growth. In particular, the conversion of CO2 into methanol is very beneficial as it is cheaper to produce from biomass, less inflammable, and advantageous to many industries. Application of various plants, algae, and microbial enzymes to recycle the CO2 and using these enzymes separately along with CO2-phillic materials and chemicals can be a sustainable solution to reduce the global carbon footprint. Materials such as MOFs, porphyrins, and nanomaterials are also used widely for CO2 absorption and conversion into methanol. Thus, a combination of enzymes and materials which convert the CO2 into methanol could energize the CO2 utilization. The CO2 to methanol conversion utilizes carbon better than the conventional syngas and the reaction yields fewer by-products. The methanol produced can further be utilized as a clean-burning fuel, in pharmaceuticals, automobiles and as a general solvent in various industries etc. This makes methanol an ideal fuel in comparison to the conventional petroleum-based ones and it is advantageous for a safer and cleaner environment. In this review article, various aspects of the circular economy with the present scenario of environmental crisis will also be considered for large-scale sustainable biorefinery of methanol production from atmospheric CO2.
This study aims to produce hydrochar from high-ash low-lipid Chlorella vulgaris biomass via hydrothermal carbonization (HTC) process. The effects of hydrothermal temperature and retention time with respect to the physicochemical properties of hydrochar were studied in the range of 180-250 °C and 0.5-4 h, respectively. It was found that the hydrothermal temperature had resulted in a significant reduction of hydrochar yield as compared to the retention time. The raw microalgal biomass was successfully converted into an energy densified hydrochar via an optimized HTC reaction, with higher heating value (HHV) of 24.51 kJ/g, which was approximately two-times higher than that of raw biomass. In addition, the overall carbon recovery rate and energy yield were in the range of 53.2-86.4% and 46.9-76.6%, respectively. The high quality of the produced hydrochar was further supported by the plot of van Krevelen diagram and combustion behaviour analysis. Besides, the aqueous phase collected from HTC process could be further used as nutrients source to cultivate C. vulgaris, in which up to 70% of the biomass yield could be attained as compared to the control cultivation condition. The reusability of the aqueous phase collected from HTC process as an alternative nutrients source to cultivate microalgal indicated the feasibility and positive integration of HTC process in microalgal biofuel processing chain.
This study determined the effect of growth media and culture concentration on the growth, proximate, and microelement composition of Ankistrodesmus falcatus. The culture of A. falcatus was done using three media, namely Modified COMBO Medium (COMBO), Bold's Basal Medium (BBM), and Bristol, at two concentrations (50% and 100%). The results obtained show that the cell density (>3.5 × 107 cells/mL), optical density (>0.24), and specific growth rate (>0.429%/day) were significantly higher (p ≤ 0.05) in BBM and COMBO than in Bristol (<3.1 × 107 cells/mL; <0.23; <0.416%/day, respectively) at both concentrations. However, biomass was higher in BBM (>2.20 g/L) than in COMBO (1.87-2.13 g/L), while Bristol had the lowest value observed (1.70-1.73 g/L). Biochemical and microelement composition showed variations between media and at the different concentrations, with higher values observed in BBM and COMBO. Based on the growth parameters and nutritional composition, it was concluded that BBM and COMBO were better media for the propagation of A. falcatus growth than Bristol. The study also demonstrated that the microalgae can be cultured using half of the media's concentration to lower production costs.
The work aimed to study the potential in producing a system with high microalgal protein recovery and separation by utilizing a one-step or integrated downstream process. This in turn enables green biorefinery of protein, contributing to circular bioeconomy whereby less energy, labor, and cost are required for the process. By utilizing electric three phase partitioning flotation system, high protein recovery yield, R of 99.42 ± 0.52% and high separation efficiency, E of 52.72 ± 0.40% system was developed. Scaling up also showed high protein recovery yield with R value of 89.13 ± 1.56%. Total processing duration (extraction, separation, and purification) was also significantly reduced to 10 min. This system showed remarkable potential in reducing processing time, alternatively cost of production, benefiting microalgal downstream processing. Concisely, through this system, microalgal bioprocessing will no longer be complex allowing a wide array of potentials for further studies in this field.
Microalgae are potential sustainable renewable sources of energy but are highly underutilized due to the expensive and time-consuming downstream processing. This study aims at curbing these obstacles by extracting multiple components with a single processing unit. In this work, an ultrasound-assisted liquid triphasic flotation system was incorporated to extract proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates by phase separation. The parameters involved were optimized and the final recovery efficiency of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates was determined. A control run involving conventional three-phase partitioning and a 15-fold scale-up system with the recycling of phase components were also performed. Gas Chromatograph and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy were used to examine the potential of extracted products as a source of biofuel. This biorefinery approach is crucial in commercializing microalgae for biodiesel and bioethanol generation with a side product of purified proteins as feed.
Recently, the development of activated carbon electrodes from agricultural waste biomass for application in carbon-based electrode of supercapacitor is increasing. The use of agricultural waste biomass as a precursor for the production of activated carbon become popular because it is economical, easily available and also beneficial in reducing waste disposal problem in agricultural industries. In this review, the biomass material for activated carbon using various activators is presented. The effects of activating methods which is physical and chemical activation on the properties of activated carbons are reviewed. Carbonaceous materials with high surface area, which is above 1000 m2g-1 and good porosity with total pore volume approximately 1.0 cm3g-1 promote fast ion-transport, making them an ideal choice to be used in supercapacitor. Previous study had shown that different types of activation method influence significantly on the properties of activated carbon produced. Producing a high porosity and high surface area of activated carbon are essentials to fabricate a high quality of supercapacitor. With proper treatment, it is found that many agriculture wastes have high potential and carry good properties as an electrode in supercapacitor.
Macrophytes have been widely used as agents in wastewater treatment. The involvement of plants in wastewater treatment cannot be separated from wetland utilization. As one of the green technologies in wastewater treatment plants, wetland exhibits a great performance, especially in removing nutrients from wastewater before the final discharge. It involves the use of plants and consequently produces plant biomasses as treatment byproducts. The produced plant biomasses can be utilized or converted into several valuable compounds, but related information is still limited and scattered. This review summarizes wastewater's nutrient content (macro and micronutrient) that can support plant growth and the performance of constructed wetland (CW) in performing nutrient uptake by using macrophytes as treatment agents. This paper further discusses the potential of the utilization of the produced plant biomasses as bioenergy production materials, including bioethanol, biohydrogen, biogas, and biodiesel. This paper also highlights the conversion of plant biomasses into animal feed, biochar, adsorbent, and fertilizer, which may support clean production and circular economy efforts. The presented review aims to emphasize and explore the utilization of plant biomasses and their conversion into valuable products, which may solve problems related to plant biomass handling during the adoption of CW in wastewater treatment plants.
Biomass co-firing with coal can be adopted in the electricity sector to promote greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy production, and resource efficiency improvement toward environmental sustainability. This realization, however, requires effective management of supply chain issues, such as the collection of biomass feedstock, the transportation of biomass, and the localization of biomass processing plants to deliver the co-firing scales needed. This work addresses these issues by providing a techno-economic assessment conducted in a spatially-explicit manner to investigate the opportunity for scaling up the co-firing deployment at the national scale. The modeling approach is applied to the case of Malaysia's coal and palm oil biomass industries. The number of cases involving the impact of energy decarbonization targets, economic policy instrument, and supply chain cost parameter variations on the co-firing scales deployed are assessed. The findings show that densified biomass feedstock can substitute significant shares of coal capacities to deliver up to 29 MtCO2/year of carbon dioxide reduction. Nevertheless, this would cause a surge in the electricity system cost by up to 2 billion USD/year due to the substitution of up to 40% of the coal plant capacities. In facilitating the maximal deployment of co-firing at the national scale, more than 100 solid biofuel production plants would need to be built to support a maximum of 41 TWh/year of co-firing capacity. Actions to minimize the specific cost elements of the biomass co-firing supply chain are thus needed in the near term to increase the effectiveness of economic policy instrument to promote co-firing and reduce environmental emissions.