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Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Wastewater and Effects on Carbon- Footprint Modeling

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Carbon emission as greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, and N2O) and as biosolids are emitted directly and indirectly by wastewater treatment plants. There are opportunities for direct and indirect carbon sequestration and emission offsets from carbonaceous fluxes, nevertheless for N2O there is no clear sequestration or treatment strategy at the present moment. We calculated the carbon footprint for nitrifying and nitrifying/denitrifying plants with and without N2O emissions. We confined our analysis to process carbon footprint, therefore we did not include any structural contribution (i.e., construction, etc). In our model we parametrized N2O emission, expressed as percent of nitrogen removed by the biological treatment process. Our results show the significant N2O effect on process carbon footprint. We also performed a temperature-sensitive analysis on our model and present data for cold, warm, and hot climates. This renders our model applicable beyond regional temperature effects, and projects variations due to global temperature increases.
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Keywords: Carbon footprint; nitrous oxide; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2009-01-01

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