We all know that microalgae can grow in domestic wastewater, with all that nitrogen and phosphorus for food- in fact, the research behind this notion was largely motivated by reducing the cultivation costs to make biofuels from the biomass.
But let's look at this another way. What if algae can be combined with bacteria to efficiently treat more complex and challenging waste-streams? Not only would this provide a more sustainable method for treatment compared to existing chemical and physical methods, but the resulting biomass can be converted into a resource, for making new materials, such as bioplastics, and recovering nutrients and metals etc. Nice idea, but where does the system need optimising? Hannah is a student in the excellent Dr. Sol Brown's research group (https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/cbe/people/academic-staff/solomon-brown), who integrated data collected in our 300 L photobioreactor into a comprehensive techno economic https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlepdf/2020/ew/d0ew00700e