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Open Access Improving Nutrient Removal While Reducing Energy Use at Three Swiss WWTPs Using Advanced Control

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Aeration consumes about 60% of the total energy use of a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and therefore is a major contributor to its carbon footprint. Introducing advanced process control can help plants to reduce their carbon footprint and at the same time improve effluent quality through making available unused capacity for denitrification, if the ammonia concentration is below a certain set-point. Monitoring and control concepts are cost-saving alternatives to the extension of reactor volume. However, they also involve the risk of violation of the effluent limits due to measuring errors, unsuitable control concepts or inadequate implementation of the monitoring and control system. Dynamic simulation is a suitable tool to analyze the plant and to design tailored measuring and control systems. During this work, extensive data collection, modeling and full-scale implementation of aeration control algorithms were carried out at three conventional activated sludge plants with fixed pre-denitrification and nitrification reactor zones. Full-scale energy savings in the range of 16‐20% could be achieved together with an increase of total nitrogen removal of 40%.

Keywords: Biological nutrient removal; activated sludge model; aeration control; ammonia control; control system design; denitrification; energy savings

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: February 1, 2012

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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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