Algal Biofuel from Urban Wastewater in India : Scope and Challenges
T.V. Ramachandra1,2,3,*             Mahapatra Durga Madhab1,2             Samantray Shilpi1             N.V. Joshi1
1 Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences [CES], 2 Centre for Sustainable Technologies (astra),
3 Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning [CiSTUP], Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012, India.
*Corresponding author:


Rapidly depleting stocks of fossil fuels and increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have necessitated the exploration of cost effective sustainable energy sources focussing on biofuels through algae. Abundant wastewaters generated in urban localities every day provide the nourishment to nurture algae for biofuel generation. The present communication focuses on the lipid prospects of algae grown in wastewater systems. Euglena sp., Spirogyra sp. and Phormidium sp. were collected from selected locations of sewage fed urban lakes and sewage treatment plants of Bangalore and Mysore. The total lipid content of Euglena species was higher (24.6%) compared to Spirogyra sp. (18.4%) followed by Phormidium sp. (8.8%) and their annual lipid yield potential was 6.52, 1.94 and 2.856 t/ha/yr respectively. These species showed higher content of fatty acids (palmitate, stearate followed by oleic and linoleic acids) with the desirable biofuel properties.

Keywords:  Algae, biofuel, biological nutrient removal, cell-disruption, energy, lipid, lipid-extraction, wastewater.

Citation : T.V. Ramachandra, Mahapatra Durga Madhab, Samantray Shilpi and N.V. Joshi, 2013. Algal biofuel from urban wastewater in India: Scope and challenges., Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume 21, May 2013, Pages 767–777. URL:
* Corresponding Author :
Dr. T.V. Ramachandra
Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560 012, India.
Tel : +91-80-2293 3099/2293 3503 [extn - 107],      Fax : 91-80-23601428 / 23600085 / 23600683 [CES-TVR]
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