Phycoremediation may be defined in a broad sense as the use of macro algae or micro algae for the removal or biotransformation of pollutants, including nutrients and xenobiotics from wastewater and CO2 from waste air (Olguín, 2003). Microalgae play an important role during the tertiary treatment of domestic wastewater in maturation ponds or the treatment of small–middle-scale municipal wastewater in facultative or aerobic ponds (Aziz and Ng, 1993; Abeliovich, 1986; Mara and Pearson, 1986; Oswald, 1988, 1995). Micro algae enhance the removal of nutrients, heavy metals and pathogens  and furnish O2 to heterotrophic aerobic bacteria to mineralize organic pollutants, using in turn the CO2 released from bacterial respiration . Photosynthetic aeration is therefore especially interesting to reduce operation costs and limit the risks for pollutant volatilization under mechanical aeration and recent studies have shown that microalgae can indeed support the aerobic degradation of various hazardous contaminants (Mun˜ oz et al., 2004). Hazardous pollutants include a wide range of toxic and/or persistent substances that can be found in all environmental compartments. The present thesis deals with the application of algal-based processes for the detoxification of industrial effluents under aerobic conditions (biodegradation of recalcitrant and toxic contaminants).
Phycoremediation potentials of micro algae:
The mechanisms involved in micro algal nutrient removal from industrial wastewater are similar than that from domestic wastewater treatment. Algae-based treatment is especially interesting in the case of N-containing contaminants whose biodegradation normally leads to NH4+ or NO3 _ release. (Mun˜ oz et al., 2005a, b).
Heavy metals represent an important group of hazardous contaminants often found in industrial wastewater (Kratochvil and Volesky, 1998). Microalgae can be efficiently used to remove these (Can˜ izares- Villanueva, 2000).  Microalgae can biodegrade hazardous organic pollutants. Micro algal species have been successfully used for the treatment of olive oil mill wastewater and paper industry wastewater (Abeliovich and Weisman, 1978; Narro, 1987). Lima et al. (2003) reported -nitrophenol removal by a consortium of micro algae. 
Phycoremediation of industrial effluents:
Proper management is industrial effluent is very essential for saving the environment. Careless and indiscriminate disposal of effluents have already caused major environmental and health problems. Technology should be developed not only to prevent further pollution but also remediate already polluted areas and make them habitable. Bioremediation can help manage effluents very effectively than the conventional methods.
Conventional methods vs Algal technology
Industrial effluents are conventionally treated using a variety of hazardous chemicals for pH correction, sludge removal, colour removal and odour removal. Extensive use of chemicals for effluent treatment results in huge amount of sludge which forms the so called hazardous solid waste generated by the industry and finally disposed by depositing them in landfills. Algal technology avoids use of chemicals and the whole process of effluent treatment is simplified. There is considerable reduction in sludge formation. Algal technology is highly economical and eco-friendly.

Industrial projects

Dr V Sivasubramanian and his team has implemented algae based treatment technology in industries in India and abroad. pH correction, sludge reduction/removal, BOD and COD reduction have been achieved through Phycoremediation.. MORE


SNAP ETP Plant - 100 reduction in sludge. pH correction


Effleunt from a leather processing chemical industry. Sludge reduction and BOD, COD removal MORE


Effluent from a detergent factory - pH correction and sludge removal


Chrome sludge from electroplating industry- Effective reduction of sludge and production of valuable algal biomass


Textile dyeing industry effluent - Colour removal and sludge reduction with algal technology


Textile dyeing effluent - Effective colour removal and reduction of TDS and sludge


Textile dyeing effluent - Effective colour removal, BOD and COD reduction - Sludge reduction by algae based technology


Effluent from a bioenergy industry - Colour removal, 95% redcution in COD and BOD acheived through algae based technology


Technodrugs, Gujrat- Effluent treated with algal technology



pH corrected BOD and COD reduced without using chemicals MORE

  • With technical support from PERC, Chennai, ALGIRAN, an Iranean algal biotech company has established a pilot demonstration facility at Chabahar Freezone, Iran.. MORE


  • PHYCORE has started a pilot plant installation to clean waste water from Camaquey slaughter house, Barranquilla, Colombia using its improved micro algal technology. Scaled up plant would be handling 850m3 every day.
  • Camaquey Slaughter house waste water pond and PHYCORE's Pilot Plant at Colombia
    1. Hettich India, Baroda - Pilot plant to manage high Nickel effluent

    Pilot plant at HETTICH, Baroda MORE

    PERC has successfully installed a pilot plant at Hettich Appliances, Baroda, to manage effluent with high nickel. The microalgae has the potential to treat the highly Ni contaminated acidic effluent to less toxic and neutral pH effluent. The algae can tolerate the high Ni conc. (1500-2000 ppm), and low pH (1.5-2.0).
  • R/O Reject management with algal technology

  • brintons
  • PHYCOLINC has successfully installed a pilot plant at BRINTONS CARPETS, PUNE, to manage R/O reject as a better alternative to Multiple Evaporator system.
  • Scaled up Plant at Pasupati Acrylon, Kashipur, India:

    PERC has recently developed a micro algae based technology to treat the most toxic Gel Dye effluent at an Acrylon manufacturing industry in India. This new technology removes colour, reduces COD and detoxicify the dye effluent and make it suitable for reuse. The process is being scaled up. The industry can save 120 thousand USD/year on chemicals when this technology is implemented in large scale MORE
  • pasu
  • Scaled up Plant at Pasupati Acrylon, Kashipur MORE
  • atul
  • Pilot plant at ATUL Limited.

    First of its kind biological solution developed for Pharma Intermediate effluent with pH of 2, COD of 15,000 ppm and TDS as high as 100,000 ppm, giving a 95% reduction in COD... MORE

  • gac
  • Scaled up plant at Gujrat Agrochem LTD Operating on an incoming TDS of 70,000 ppm and 20,000 ppm COD, this is the first installation of a bio-remediation system on Agro-Chemical industry effluent. MORE
  • kh
  • K H Exports India Pvt Ltd
    Zero Liquid Discharge Solution developed for Chromium contaminated high TDS effluent from leather industry.MORE
  • mau
  • Mausam,Malegaon river restoration project... MORE ram
  • Ramky Enviro Engineers Limited
    First of its kind green and cost effective treatment and Zero Liquid Discharge solution developed for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) leachate. MORE

  • Mainath Lake – Uttar Pradesh,, Restoration of po;;uted lake using algal technology

    CSR Project involving Chemical Free bio-remediation of contaminated lake in remote village near Aligarh in U.P, India MORE

Sewage into energy

Phyco Spectrum is exploring the possibilities of growing micro algae in domestic sewage to produce valuable algal biomass which could be converted in to biofuel. Sewage is an excellent source of nutrients for algae. Algal technology treats sewage effectively to produce valuable biomass and remove CO2 from air thereby helping in reducing global warming. For more information click here


Rejects from desalination plants and R/O plants are evaporated using SEPs and this generates huge amounts of sludge causiing enviornmental problems while disposal. Algal technology has been developed to effeciently treat R/O rejects with high TDS with a significant reduction in sludge. Micro algal species have been identified and developed by PHYCO SPECTRUM for this purpose and tested in field conditions.

Advantages of Phycoremediation

  • pH correction without chemicals
  • Sludge reduction by utilization of salts
  • This technology does not involve any costly chemicals or equipments so very economical
  • Effective reduction of BOD and COD and oxygenation of environment
  • Removal waste CO2 due to photosynthetic fixation ( carbon credits)
  • Useful bio-chemicals ( nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, bio-fertilizer and bio-fuel) from the algal biomass
  • Accepted by PCB
  • Not only the industry can save a lot of money but the environment is also saved


Industries employing this technology
Phycoremediation technology is being employed in the following industries:

  1. alginate industry
  2. leather processing chemicals industry
  3. detergent manufacturing industry
  4. confectionary industry
  5. electroplating industry
  6. soft drink industry
  7. textile dyeing industry
  8. pharmaceutical industry
  9. oil drilling sludge and distilleries

Implementation is carried out in three stages:
1. Laboratory level feasibility studies
2. Field level pilot scale studies
3. Scaling up to meet the industry’s requirement

Dr V Sivasubramanian, the Phycoremediologist and Director of PERC has employed this technology very successfully in a number of industries. For more details click here.


World's First Phycoremediation plant: Dr V Sivasubramanian, has set up the First Phycoremediation plant at SNAP Industry. Algal remediation technology helps in pH correction of the acidic effluent and complete reduction of sludge formation. SNAP is now a zero disposal company. The phycoremediation plant has been in operation from September 2006. The effluent generated by the industry is highly acidic and of very high TDS (40000 mg/L). The entire effluent is evaporated using slope tank with zero sludge formation. The algal biomass produced is used in Biofertilizer preparation and sold by the Company. .......(.more )


Click here for a news item in Deccan Chronicle

Contact Us

For consultancy on algae based remediation, bio-fuels and CO2 mitigation

Dr V Sivasubramanian, Director

Phyco Spectrum

52 A, A K Block, 7th Main road, (click here for location map), Anna Nagar, Chennai 600040, India

Email to: vsivasubramanian@gmail.com

Phone: 91 044 26208896

Mobile: 91 9677144453 ; 9381487310