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Algae may help reduce emissions on pig farms

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Oscar Rousseau

By Oscar Rousseau+


Pork CRC-supported Ryan Chen graduated with a PHD from Flinders University
Pork CRC-supported Ryan Chen graduated with a PHD from Flinders University

Adding algae to wastewater may reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help pig farmers become more environmentally friendly, the Australian Pork Cooperative Research Centre (Pork CRC) claims.

The body funded the PHD thesis of Flinders University student Dr Ryan Cheng who researched the effect of cardoon dioxide (CO2) on the growth of algae in pig wastewaters.

Algae in pig-derived wastewater can remove some CO2 from the slurry, helping pig farmers to lower their carbon footprint, Pork CRC claims. It also said methane from biogas could be recovered for energy production purposes.

The research may inspire Australian pig farmers to cover anaerobic lagoons – large basins filled with animal waste – with algae to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), Pork CRC said.

My research ultimately provided a better understanding of how to achieve integration of algae and wastewater treatment by determining if it is necessary to supply external CO2 and evaluating the outcome of anaerobic co-digestion of algal biomass with pig slurry or waste activated sludge,” Dr Cheng said in a statement.

In Dr Cheng’s research, a lab test was used to establish the effect of CO2 on the growth of microalgae in wastewaters.

Results demonstrated that adding CO2 did not increase biomass production in wastewaters rich in organic carbon, since the CO2 produced by bacterial mineralisation, adequately supported optimal biomass production,” Dr Cheng added.

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