REALM’s Wastewater Treatment with Microalgae

 Seagriculture EU 2024

There are hundreds of thousands of algal species in our waterbodies and all of them need only a few things to thrive: water, sunlight, carbon dioxide and nutrients, like those present in fertilizers. So, can we grow microalgae in the wastewater of greenhouses and, if so, should we?

The wastewater of greenhouses is not waste. This irrigation water contains residual nutrients from fertilizers, such as nitrate and phosphate. Microalgae need these nutrients, and when they are cultivated in the wastewater from soilless greenhouses, they extract these nutrients from the water as they grow.

By growing microalgae in the irrigation water of greenhouses, full of fertilizer residues, we could reduce agricultural water pollution. This innovative concept is being developed in the EU research project REALM, which uses wastewater from soilless greenhouses as a source of water and nutrients for the cultivation of microalgae in a circular process.

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