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Title: A Comprehensive Derivation and Application of Reference Values for Benchmarking the Energy Performance of Activated Sludge Wastewater Treatment
Authors: Silva, C.
Keywords: Activated sludge treatment;Air diffusers;Energy performance;Mechanical aerators;Wastewater treatment plants
Issue Date: May-2022
Publisher: MDPI
Abstract: Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are facing challenges concerning the service’s effectiveness and reliability, as well as the efficiency and sustainability of resource utilization, where energy represents one of the higher costs in activated sludge (AS) treatment. This paper presents the latest developments in the new energy performance indices (PXs) we have been developing for benchmarking, i.e., assessing and improving the performance of this widely used treatment. PXs compare the energy consumption with the energy requirements for the carbon and nitrogen removals needed for the plant’s compliance with the discharge consents (the closer they are, the better the performance). PXs are computed by applying to the state variables a performance function that is defined by the reference values for excellent, acceptable, and unsatisfactory performance. This paper shows the rationale for selecting the state variables for the AS energy performance and the comprehensive derivation of the equations to determine the reference values for energy consumption, which incorporate the effect of key parameters (flows, concentrations, and operating conditions). Reference values for the operating conditions affecting the energy performance are also proposed. A sensitivity analysis identified the key parameters for improving the aeration performance: α, F, and SOTE for air diffusers, and α and N0 for mechanical aerators. Fourteen Portuguese urban WWTPs (very diverse in size and inflows) were analyzed, and aeration (0.08–1.03 kWh/m3) represented 25–80% of total energy consumption (0.23–1.30 kWh/m3). The reference values for excellent performance were 0.23–0.39 kWh/m3 (P25–P75) for AS systems with air diffusers and 0.33–0.80 kWh/m3 for those with mechanical aerators. A comprehensive application in one WWTP (16–18 d solids retention time) showed the system’s ability at identifying which operating conditions to adjust (to F/M ratio lower than 0.09 d−1 and decreasing aeration during the low season) to improve the energy performance/savings while maintaining the treatment’s effectiveness and reliability.
Appears in Collections:DHA/NES - Comunicações a congressos e artigos de revista

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