Investigating alternatives for fossil fuels have always been an area of interest for scientist around the globe. The decline in the oil & gas stock along with the increasing demand for energy that accompanies the increase in population has created the need for an alternative energy solution. From the renewable energy solution, microalgae stand out as a very promising source for biofuel production due to its high lipid content. However, the production of biofuel from microalgae is still of a high cost compared to production of the same amount from fossil fuels. The unfeasibility commercial production for biofuel from microalgae goes back to the high cost in the cultivation process, mainly supply the cultivation medium with nutrients, extraction process, and transesterification process. This research aimed to reduce the cultivation process cost by investigating the substitution of required nutrients in the synthetic Woods Hole MBL (MBL) medium by those available in wastewater streams. Chlorella vulgaris was selected for this research for its high biomass productivity and its ability for adaptation in various media. Different cultivation conditions were tested to reach to growth rate close to which was recorded from the cultivation on synthetic medium (MBL). The research reached to the conclusion that a mixture between synthetic medium (MBL) and non-sterilized agriculture wastewater under indirect sunlight (16:8 light to dark cycle) achieved a growth rate close to the growth rate from cultivation on a pure synthetic medium (MBL). Regarding total lipids, The non-sterilizer agriculture wastewater and MBL mixture achieved the highest results after fourteen cultivation days. Both growth rates and total lipid results prove that a mixture between agriculture wastewater and synthetic medium (MBL) can be utilized as a substitution for the pure MBL medium. This substitution will support the objective of reducing the total cost for producing biofuel from microalgae.


Environmental Engineering Program

Degree Name

MS in Environmental Engineering

Graduation Date


Submission Date

January 2019

First Advisor

El Haggar, Salah

Committee Member 1

El Gendy, Ahmed

Committee Member 2

Fakhry, Eman Mohamed



Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


First, I thank Allah for granting me this development opportunity by conducting a master’s degree in environmental engineering at a reputable university as the American University in Cairo (AUC). Moreover, I thank Alexandria University for accommodating me in its biology lab during the early stage of my research and provide me with resources and materials to set up the initial cultivation phase for my research. I want to thank also my company (BP) for offering me an education assistantship without which I would not be able to pay for my master’s degree. Also, I want to thank my line manager Ahmed El Sherbiny who encouraged me to join the environmental program in the AUC and facilitated me all resources to progress with my master’s degree. I am also thankful to my academic supervisors Prof. Salah El-Hagar, Dr. Ahmed El-Gendy, and Prof. Eman Mohamed Fakhry for guiding more over my research course. Prof. Salah has always provided support, and guidance, and helped me a lot in managing my efforts to stay on track and follow the research plan. Assoc. Prof. Ahmed El-Gendy has helped me to reveal new potentials in myself and guided me to overcome the challenges I encountered through my research and encouraged me to expand my research to cover broader scope in microalgae research. Prof. Eman Mohamed Fakhry gave me the throttle to start my research and empowered me with academic knowledge to set up my experiments. I want to thank also Assoc. Prof. Hala Mohamed Taha (researcher at hydrobiology, Marine Division, National Institute of Oceanography & Fisheries), and Eng. Ahmed Saad from the environmental lab in the AUC for educating me the required lab skills to conduct my research. Last but not least, I am grateful to my family who incurred my absence through those years and supported me to complete my master’s degree.