Optimisation of microalgae membrane photobioreactor (MPBR) operation for enhanced nutrient removal from wastewater

Microalgae is a promising feedstock and its application for wastewater treatment has also been effective. A membrane photo bioreactor (MPBR) uses microalgae for nutrient uptake in wastewater whilst concentrating microalgae for biomass production. It is anticipated that this technology will reduce energy consumption, freshwater consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in the water treatment and biotechnology. However more investigation to optimise the process is required. 

The aims of this project are:

    • To investigate the nutrient removal capabilities of MPBRs used for treating different kinds of waste water 
    • To monitor and characterise changes in concentration of different algal organic matter fractions under different MPBR operating conditions
    • To identify key algal foulants, their properties as related to membrane fouling layers and associated fouling mitigation measures

Image: Algal photo-bioreactor containing Chlorella vulgaris CS-42/7 cells and organic matter (Photo credit: UNSW Engineering Showcase) 

Project Funding Source(s) and Partners

  •  Postgraduate Research Training Scholarship


Chief Investigators


Current PhD Candidate(s)