Utilizing macroalgae for heavy metal remediation of effluents from industrial wastewater


Algae as a biosorbent is an emerging technology that offers a renewable and economically efficient means of removing heavy metals from wastewater effluent. While there are a multitude of studies demonstrating the effectiveness of algae as a heavy metal adsorbent, there are a lack of studies that attempt to use algal biosorption as their primary removal method. This study looks to examine the biosorption efficiency of inactive algae strands Spirilina and Uluthrix in a non batch reactor. Tannery effluent is used as a model for a generalized heavy metal effluent, because it is well defined in the literature.

The algae was analyzed first at a lab scale to determine the maximum carrying capacity of the algae, examining the optimal conditions for adsorption. Our laboratory results are currently being run to determine optimal pH, temperature, and contact time for adsorption. A pilot scale system is currently being tested to determine how well a system can implement this novel approach to biosorption.