The world energy demand is increasing in parallel to the population growth. In contrast, our major energy provider, fossil fuels, will be depleted in a mid-term and we need to find renewable energy sources to avoid an energetic breakdown. On the other hand, the amount of liquid wastes generated is also continuously increasing.
Biological processes consist of redox processes where both an electron donor and an electron acceptor are required. The former is generally organic matter which, in heterotrophic processes, serves as carbon and energy source to drive the biological conversions.
One of the new challenges of our society is to move the focus from nutrient removal to nutrient recovery. In this sense, P is a paradigmatic element since it has many useful applications but, according to its current extraction rate, P sources are going to be limited in this century. Anthropogenic wastes contain 3 MtP/yr, which stand for 20% of the global P needs.
The new generation of wastewater treatment facilities should include the recovery of resources as value added products. In this sense, this theme proposes the production of biopolymers in parallel to the treatment of wastewater by biological means. One of the most promising biodegradable materials to emerge in recent times is the family of polyhydroxyalkanoate polymers