Controlled microalgae culture as a reactive nitrogen filter: from ideation to prototyping

Maurizio Capra, Elena Barone, Mario de Matteo, Martina Puppi, Ravin Garg


Freshwater pollution caused by excessive reactive nitrogen in water due to extensive use of nitrogen-based fertilizers poses an ecological threat. As a result of an innovation management program, the problem is explored through the stages of research, ideation, solution (identification and validation), and prototyping/execution. After a description of the problem and a theoretical argumentation of the methodology used to approach it, each of these stages is discussed and the solution is presented. A water treatment module that grows microalgae for water purification and nitrogen recovery is proposed. Algae grown can be used as biomass material for animal nutrition, biofertilizers, and for the cosmetics industry.


Innovation management; Nitrogen; Eutrophication; Microalgae; Bioreactor.

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