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Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuel Production and Wastewater Recovery

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "A4: Bio-Energy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (25 May 2022) | Viewed by 11418

Special Issue Editors

Bioenergy Unit, LNEG - National Laboratory of Energy and Geology, I.P., 1649-038 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: microalgae; wastewater treatment; biofuels; biofertilizers; biostimulants; biopesticides; bioplastics; bioactive compounds; food; feed from microalgae
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
Interests: phytochemicals; UHPLC-PDA-MS; bioactivities
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The way we look at wastewater is changing. While it used to be considered a waste product that needs to be treated before discharge with high costs to municipalities and industries, wastewater is now viewed as a resource. Wastewaters can be rich in organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, metals, etc., having several different applications from cultivation media for microorganisms, production of bioplastics, cellulose recovery, biofertilizers or biofuel production. Wastewater recovery therefore offers a more sustainable process, often including resource cycling, than conventional wastewater treatment systems based on activated sludge processes.

As we witness a continuous rise in the global energy demand with the concomitant increase in fossil-related emissions, a quicker development of sustainable processes for biofuel production is needed. Wastewater is a rich source of chemical energy that can easily be converted into biofuels, including biogas, biohydrogen, biodiesel, syngas, and nitrogenous fuels. Several technologies could be applied, such as anaerobic digestion, dark and alcoholic fermentations, pyrolysis, and hydrothermal liquefaction; for example, the production of biogas has already been successfully implemented on large-scale municipal wastewater treatment plants.

This Special Issue aims to gather contributions of high-quality scientific works related to biofuel production from wastewater using advanced biotechnological methods.

Dr. Luisa Gouveia
Dr. Luísa Barreira
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Energies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Wastewater recovery
  • Biofuels
  • Water reuse
  • Resource cycling

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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10 pages, 962 KiB  
Article
Biogas Production from Microalgal Biomass Produced in the Tertiary Treatment of Urban Wastewater: Assessment of Seasonal Variations
Energies 2022, 15(15), 5713; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15155713 - 05 Aug 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1581
Abstract
The valorization of microalgal biomass produced during wastewater treatment has the potential to mitigate treatment costs. As contaminated biomass (e.g., with pharmaceuticals, toxic metals, etc.) is often generated, biogas production is considered an effective valorization option. The biomass was obtained from a pilot [...] Read more.
The valorization of microalgal biomass produced during wastewater treatment has the potential to mitigate treatment costs. As contaminated biomass (e.g., with pharmaceuticals, toxic metals, etc.) is often generated, biogas production is considered an effective valorization option. The biomass was obtained from a pilot facility of photobioreactors for tertiary wastewater treatment. The pilots were run for one year with naturally formed microalgal consortia. The biogas was generated in 70 mL crimp-top vials at 35 °C, quantified with a manometer and the methane yield measured by gas chromatography. A maximum biogas production of 311 mL/g volatile solids (VS) with a methane yield of 252 mL/g VS was obtained with the spring samples. These rather low values were not improved using previous thermo-acidic hydrolysis, suggesting that the low intrinsic biodegradable organic matter content of the consortia might be the cause for low yield. Considering the total volume of wastewater treated by this plant and the average amount of methane produced in this study, the substitution of the current tertiary treatment with the one here proposed would reduce the energy consumption of the plant by 20% and create an energy surplus of 2.8%. The implementation of this system would therefore contribute towards meeting the ambitious decarbonization targets established by the EU. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuel Production and Wastewater Recovery)
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Review

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30 pages, 4371 KiB  
Review
Bioprocesses for the Biodiesel Production from Waste Oils and Valorization of Glycerol
Energies 2022, 15(9), 3381; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15093381 - 06 May 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2262
Abstract
The environmental context causes the use of renewable energy to increase, with the aim of finding alternatives to fossil-based products such as fuels. Biodiesel, an alternative to diesel, is now a well-developed solution, and its production from renewable resources makes it perfectly suitable [...] Read more.
The environmental context causes the use of renewable energy to increase, with the aim of finding alternatives to fossil-based products such as fuels. Biodiesel, an alternative to diesel, is now a well-developed solution, and its production from renewable resources makes it perfectly suitable in the environmental context. In addition, it is biodegradable, non-toxic and has low greenhouse gas emissions: reduced about 85% compared to diesel. However, the feedstock used to produce biodiesel competes with agriculture and the application of chemical reactions is not advantageous with a “green” process. Therefore, this review focuses only on bioprocesses currently taking an important place in the production of biodiesel and allow high yields, above 90%, and with very few produced impurities. In addition, the use of waste oils as feedstock, which now accounts for 10% of feedstocks used in the production of biodiesel, avoids competition with agriculture. To present a complete life-cycle of oils in this review, a second part will focus on the valorization of the biodiesel by-product, glycerol. About 10% of glycerol is generated during the production of biodiesel, so it should be recovered to high value-added products, always based on bioprocesses. This review will also present existing techniques to extract and purify glycerol. In the end, from the collection of feedstocks to the production of CO2 during the combustion of biodiesel, this review presents the steps using the “greener” possible processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuel Production and Wastewater Recovery)
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26 pages, 2646 KiB  
Review
Microalgal Systems for Wastewater Treatment: Technological Trends and Challenges towards Waste Recovery
Energies 2021, 14(23), 8112; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14238112 - 03 Dec 2021
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 3319
Abstract
Wastewater (WW) treatment using microalgae has become a growing trend due the economic and environmental benefits of the process. As microalgae need CO2, nitrogen, and phosphorus to grow, they remove these potential pollutants from wastewaters, making them able to replace energetically [...] Read more.
Wastewater (WW) treatment using microalgae has become a growing trend due the economic and environmental benefits of the process. As microalgae need CO2, nitrogen, and phosphorus to grow, they remove these potential pollutants from wastewaters, making them able to replace energetically expensive treatment steps in conventional WW treatment. Unlike traditional sludge, biomass can be used to produce biofuels, biofertilizers, high value chemicals, and even next-generation growth media for “organically” grown microalgal biomass targeting zero-waste policies and contributing to a more sustainable circular bioeconomy. The main challenge in this technology is the techno-economic feasibility of the system. Alternatives such as the isolation of novel strains, the use of native consortia, and the design of new bioreactors have been studied to overcome this and aid the scale-up of microalgal systems. This review focuses on the treatment of urban, industrial, and agricultural wastewaters by microalgae and their ability to not only remove, but also promote the reuse, of those pollutants. Opportunities and future prospects are discussed, including the upgrading of the produced biomass into valuable compounds, mainly biofuels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuel Production and Wastewater Recovery)
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21 pages, 1281 KiB  
Review
Co-Management of Sewage Sludge and Other Organic Wastes: A Scandinavian Case Study
Energies 2021, 14(12), 3411; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14123411 - 09 Jun 2021
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3390
Abstract
Wastewater and sewage sludge contain organic matter that can be valorized through conversion into energy and/or green chemicals. Moreover, resource recovery from these wastes has become the new focus of wastewater management, to develop more sustainable processes in a circular economy approach. The [...] Read more.
Wastewater and sewage sludge contain organic matter that can be valorized through conversion into energy and/or green chemicals. Moreover, resource recovery from these wastes has become the new focus of wastewater management, to develop more sustainable processes in a circular economy approach. The aim of this review was to analyze current sewage sludge management systems in Scandinavia with respect to resource recovery, in combination with other organic wastes. As anaerobic digestion (AD) was found to be the common sludge treatment approach in Scandinavia, different available organic municipal and industrial wastes were identified and compared, to evaluate the potential for expanding the resource recovery by anaerobic co-digestion. Additionally, a full-scale case study of co-digestion, as strategy for optimization of the anaerobic digestion treatment, was presented for each country, together with advanced biorefinery approaches to wastewater treatment and resource recovery. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Biotechnology for Biofuel Production and Wastewater Recovery)
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