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Open Access N2O Emissions: Modeling the Effect of Process Configuration and Diurnal Loading Patterns

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The objective of this research was to develop a mechanistic model for quantifying N2O emissions from activated sludge plants and demonstrate how this may be used to evaluate the effects of process configuration and diurnal loading patterns. The model describes the mechanistic link between the factors recognized to correlate positively with N2O emissions. The primary factors are the presence of ammonia and nitrite accumulation. Low dissolved oxygen concentrations also may be implicated through differential impacts on ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) versus nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB) activity. Factors promoting N2O emissions at treatment plants are discussed below. The model was applied to data from laboratory and pilot-scale systems. From a practical standpoint, plant configuration (e.g., plug-flow versus complete-mix), influent loading patterns (and peak load), and certain operating strategies (e.g., handling of return streams) are all important in determining N2O emissions.

Keywords: N2O; ammonia; greenhouse gas; modeling; nitrification; nitrite; nitrous oxide

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2011

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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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