Algal wastewater treatment is a new and economic technology to remove and recycle nutrients from wastewater. In order to investigate the effect of vinasse on microalgae growth and also the effect of its growth on nitrogen and phosphate removal in a mixture of urban wastewater and vinasse, the growth of Spirulina platensis was studied.
Growth ability of spirulina in the urban wastewater and the effect of vinasse on growth rate was investigated by the calculation of biomass. The effect of concentration of vinasse, intensity of light and light-dark cycle on growth rate were studied by DESIGN EXPERT and CCD method. By selecting the optimized conditions, rates of nitrogen, phosphate and COD removal was investigated at the end of the growth period.
The results showed that adding vinasse to wastewater increased the growth rate and the highest amount of biomass of 3.19 mg/mL was obtained in the sedimentary stream containing 0.25% vinasse. By evaluating the effect of vinasse concentration, intensity of light and light-dark cycle on growth rate, optimal conditions at vinasse concentration 0.4% (v/v), light intensity of 5000 lux and light period of 10 hours, 480 (mg/L) of biomass was obtained. The percentage of removal of nitrogen, phosphate and COD was 63%, 97% and 73% respectively.
The results of this study indicated the capability of urban wastewater and vinasse in order to replace Zarouk's culture medium for growth of Spirulina microalgae. These microalgae were able to remove high percentage of nutrients in the wastewater.