This project will deliver a novel low-cost algal and bacterial aggregated floc-based (ABAF) biotechnology that can replace or be retro-fitted to existing regional treatment systems or algae-based production systems. ABAF technologies developed in this project represent a novel approach to water treatment and algae production.

Specifically, the project addresses major limitations of existing algal technologies by enabling rapid low-cost biomass harvesting.

Harvesting of microalgae has been identified as one of the main limiting steps in algae production. ABAF systems drastically simplify recovering biomass from culture systems. The reduction in harvesting costs from this proposed technology allows easy recovery of biomass eliminating a significant bottleneck in algae production systems, hence increasing the viability of this alage based wastewater treatment and the alage biomass production industry.

Project Outcomes

The development of this novel algal based biotechnology will have significant benefits for Australia’s agricultural wastewaters, current algal industries and regional wastewater treatment applications.

Economic benefits to Australia’s water industry include reduced: desludging, evaporation losses, reductions in greenhouse gases and odour emission, whilst providing better nutrient recovery and biomass feedstock production. The technology effectively turns wastewater treatment systems into resource recovery centres that simultaneously treat water and generate a valuable biomass product.

 The application of this biotechnology to existing Australia microalgae-based production industries is also significant.


Conference Proceedings:

  • IWA Waste Stabilisation Ponds and Alage Technology (2019) Spain, Pilot Scale Wastewater Remediation Using Aggregated Photoautotrophic Microalgae and Non- Phototrophic Bacterial Bio-Flocs
  • International Society of Applied Phycology, Japan (2021) Wastewater remediation using algae bacterial aggregated flocs (ABAF) at pilot scale
  • AWA Water in the Bush Conference, Northern Territory (2021) Algae Biotechnology: A Water Utility Perspective
  • AWA Young Water Professionals (2022) Algae Bacterial aggregated flocs in enhance treatment of wastewater 


  • PhD thesis, Algae Bacterial Aggregated Flocs (ABAF) - Holly Stolberg,

Project members

Dr Andrew Ward

Research Fellow
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Associate Professor Paul Jensen

Associate Professor
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Ms Holly Stolberg

Research Scholar