Microalgae and cyanobacteria modeling in water resource recovery facilities: A critical review

Research output: Contribution to journalReview – Annual report year: 2019Researchpeer-review



  • Author: Shoener, Brian D.

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Author: Schramm, Stephanie M.

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • Author: Béline, Fabrice


  • Author: Bernard, Olivier

    Universite Cote d'Azur

  • Author: Martinez von Dossow, Carlos

    Universite Cote d'Azur

  • Author: Plósz, Benedek G.

    University of Bath, United Kingdom

  • Author: Snowling, Spencer

    Hydromantis ESS Inc.

  • Author: Steyer, Jean-Philippe

    Universite de Montpellier, France

  • Author: Valverde-Pérez, Borja

    Water Technologies, Department of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, Bygningstorvet, 2800, Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark

  • Author: Wágner, Dorottya

    Aalborg University, Denmark

  • Author: Guest, Jeremy S.

    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Microalgal and cyanobacterial resource recovery systems could significantly advance nutrient recovery from wastewater by achieving effluent nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) levels below the current limit of technology. The successful implementation of phytoplankton, however, requires the formulation of process models that balance fidelity and simplicity to accurately simulate dynamic performance in response to environmental conditions. This work synthesizes the range of model structures that have been leveraged for algae and cyanobacteria modeling and core model features that are required to enable reliable process modeling in the context of water resource recovery facilities. Results from an extensive literature review of over 300 published phytoplankton models are presented, with particular attention to similarities with and differences from existing strategies to model chemotrophic wastewater treatment processes (e.g., via the Activated Sludge Models, ASMs). Building on published process models, the core requirements of a model structure for algal and cyanobacterial processes are presented, including detailed recommendations for the prediction of growth (under phototrophic, heterotrophic, and mixotrophic conditions), nutrient uptake, carbon uptake and storage, and respiration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100024
JournalWater Research X
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • Growth, Lipid storage, Nutrient uptake, Starch storage, Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP)

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