3D-printed Chlorella vulgaris biocarriers: A novel approach to wastewater treatment

Seon Won Yoon, Sang Yeob Kim, Joon Seong Jeon, Seungdae Oh, Sang Yeop Chung, Ji Su Kim, Sung Kyu Maeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, the use of microalgae in 3D printing has been investigated. It has great potential for use in a wide variety of environmental fields such as wastewater treatment. Microalga Chlorella vulgaris biocarriers were fabricated using 3D printing, and their applicability in wastewater treatment was evaluated. To select a candidate hydrogel to support C. vulgaris, alginate (Alg)/methylcellulose (MC) hydrogels containing 3 % Alg and 2, 5, and 8 % MC were used. Based on the rheological evaluation, the Alg3/MC8 hydrogel containing 3 % Alg and 8 % MC showed gel-like behavior. Moreover, it did not degrade compared to Alg3/MC2 and Alg3/MC5. The microalgal ink Alg3/MC8w/, which is C. vulgaris-laden Alg3/MC8 hydrogel, showed the best printability in the shape fidelity and stackability tests. It could also be stacked into a structure with 30 layers (10.5 mm) at 98 ± 2.3 % accuracy compared to the 3D model. In addition, it achieved removal efficiencies of 52 ± 6 % and 88 ± 6 % for soluble nitrogen and phosphorus, respectively, confirming that it could be applied in wastewater treatment. The results demonstrated that the enhancement of various wastewater treatment procedures can be achieved using 3D-printed microbial biocarriers that offer control over targeted microorganisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104711
JournalJournal of Water Process Engineering
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • 3D printing
  • Biocarrier
  • Chlorella vulgaris
  • Immobilization
  • Wastewater treatment


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