Microalgae Growth in Physically Pre-treated Wastewater Generated During Hydraulic Fracturing
Lutzu, Giovanni Antonio
Concas, Alessandro
Dunford , Nurhan Turgut

How to Cite

Lutzu G.A., Concas A., Dunford N.T., 2022, Microalgae Growth in Physically Pre-treated Wastewater Generated During Hydraulic Fracturing, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 92, 661-666.


Hydraulic fracturing technique frequently used during gas and oil production generates large amounts of wastewaters (WWs). High cost of the conventional techniques used to treat such waters adversely affect their economic feasibility. Hence, novel technologies that will facilitate remediation and subsequent re-use of these WWs are welcomed. In this study, growth profile of four Oklahoma native microalgae (Geitlerinema carotinosum, Komvophoron sp., Pseudanabaena sp., Picochlorum oklahomensis) cultivated in physically pre-treated flowback and produced water generated during hydraulic fracturing were characterized. A mechanical step based on oil removal by an oil skimmer was introduced during pre-treatment. The experimental results demonstrated that all four strains could grow in pre-treated flowback and produced water. Biomass productivity varied significantly with the microalgae strain and type of the WW used in the growth experiments. The best performing strain, cyanobacterium Komvophoron sp., was able to grow with a specific growth rate ranging from 0.03 to 0.18 day-1 depending on the type of WW. The process was capable of removing ammonium and phosphorus with efficiencies up to 99 and 63%, respectively.