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A STELLA Model for Integrated Algal Biofuel Production and Wastewater Treatment

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Based on a municipal wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Tampa, FL, a dynamic multiple-systems model was developed on the STELLA software platform to explore algae biomass production in wastewater by incorporating two photobioreactors into the conventional treatment train. Using a mass balance approach, the model examined the synergy through algal growth and substrate removal kinetics, as well as macroeconomic-level analyses of algal biomass conversion to biodiesel, biogas, or fertilizer. A sensitivity analysis showed that biomass production is highly dependent on Monod variables and harvesting regime, and profitability was sensitive to processing costs, market prices of products, and energy environment. The model demonstrated that adequate nutrients and carbon dioxide are available in the typical influent of the case study plant to sustain algal growth. Useful in determining the growth potential on a macro-level, the model is also a tool for identifying focus areas for bench and pilot scale testing.

Keywords: Monod kinetics; algae economics; carbon dioxide; mass balance; nitrogen; phosphorous

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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