On Dec. 4, 2018, the UTC Faculty Grants Committee awarded $1,600 the project Photobioreactor Development for Microbial Treatment of Hamilton County Wastewater Effluents.

A UTC research team led by Dr. Michael Danquah, professor and director of the university’s chemical engineering program, is developing a sustainable technology to treat Hamilton Country wastewater using microalgae. These organisms can recycle carbon while consuming contaminants from wastewater to produce useful biological compounds such as lipids, carbohydrates, peptides and proteins. The use of microalgae to treat wastewater offers great potential to develop a green technology that provides both upstream and downstream benefits.

The production of copious quantities of wastewater is an unavoidable consequence of domestic and industrial activities in Hamilton County and Chattanooga. The composition of wastewater can be hazardous to human beings, animals, aquatic life and the environment and requires effective treatment before disposal into streams, lakes, sea and land. The proposed project will develop a bioreactor that uses light to grow microalgae.

This approach is targeted towards a sustainable technology with zero environmental impact and lower operating costs compared to conventional wastewater treatment.

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