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Fifteen Years of Offgas Transfer Efficiency Measurements on Fine-Pore Aerators: Key Role of Sludge Age and Normalized Air Flux

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Fine-pore diffusers, often called fine-bubble diffusers, have nearly replaced coarse bubble diffusers in municipal wastewater treatment over the past 20 years. The rapid increases in energy costs, which began in the 1970s, created financial incentives to upgrade to this more expensive and maintenance-intensive method of aeration. Fine-pore diffusers have the added benefit of reducing volatile organic compound stripping and reduced aeration heat loss. This paper summarizes 15 years of oxygen transfer efficiency measurements using the offgas technique. Efficiencies are shown for different types of diffusers at various tank geometries (depth, diffuser size, and number), airflow rates, and mean cell retention times (MCRT or sludge age). By normalizing the airflow rates per unit of depth and diffusing area, efficiencies measured in different plants can be compared. The results show that aeration efficiencies are logarithmically related to the ratio between MCRT and the normalized air flux, with transfer rates suppressed by low MCRT or high normalized air flux systems. There is no evidence for different α factors among the different types of fine-bubble diffuser types.

Keywords: aeration; fine bubble; fine pore; normalized air flux; oxygen transfer; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 2005

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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