Uptake of Nutrients in Dairy Waste Water Using RABR Based Algae Biotechnology


Zachary Fica

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Ron Sims


Utah State University has developed new RABR (Rotating Algal Biofilm Reactor) technology aimed at producing various bioproducts from waste water systems. This technology has proven effective at both reducing nutrient levels in aqueous systems and growing biomass to be used in the production of said bioproducts. A significant source worldwide of waste products is the production of dairy. Dairy waste has high concentrations of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and other compounds of concern. Algal biomass in our RABR system can contribute to the uptake of these nutrients, thereby reducing the amount of time and chemicals that would be needed to treat the wastewater with conventional technology while simultaneously providing biomass for the production of renewable bioproducts. This proves very economically and environmentally advantageous, as the feed stock that would be used to grow biomass is currently considered a waste product that would otherwise be disposed of. We have applied Utah State University's new RABR biotechnology to treat wastewater produced by the USU Caine dairy farm. We focus primarily on Nitrogen and Phosphorous levels in the treated wastewater and demonstrate that the RABR technology significantly aids in reducing the concentrations of nutrients. This study has provided a proof of concept for the RABR system in dairy waste, and has also produced results that indicate a positive projection for implementation on a larger scale.

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