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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the carbon footprint of wastewater treatment facilities have quickly become important topics of interest to municipalities and utilities. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a powerful GHG with a global warming potential approximately 300 x carbon dioxide and it can be generated by microorganisms within a bioreactor. Oxygen is a key substrate that influences the N2O generation potential. Provision of excess oxygen to the bioreactor can practically eliminate N2O generation, but such an approach comes at a cost in terms of power needed to supply oxygen and carbon dioxide equivalents associated with off-site electrical power generation. This paper examines the sensitivity of a strategy to reduce the bioreactor N2O generation potential, in the context of minimizing total GHG emissions, in a hypothetical treatment facility where off-site electricity is produced by one of three primary sources: hydropower, nuclear and coal (no carbon capture/sequestration) that reflect primary electricity production in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta, respectively.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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