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Aerobic biological treatment, such as the activated sludge process, is commonly used for municipal wastewater treatment. Fine pore diffusers have virtually replaced coarse bubble diffusers in such operations, but most of the plant's energy expenditure is still consumed by aeration. Therefore, the performance of diffusers will critically affect plant economics. This paper analyzes and quantifies the consequences of aging processes on fine pore diffusers. Datasets from 94 field measurements were analyzed and showed a clear pattern of performance decline with time in operation. Efficiency declines rapidly during the first 24 months of operation when the rate of decline decreases and efficiency stabilizes at a low value. For example, cost analysis scenarios were performed using the measured rate of decline in diffuser performance. The analyses include loss of transfer efficiency, as well as elevated headloss, which both increase operating cost. Cleaning the diffusers within 12 months of operation is generally economically favorable, restores efficiency, and reduces power overhead. Periodic cleaning prolongs the economically

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2005-01-01

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