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Greenhouse gas emissions from wastewater treatment plants on a plantwide scale: Sensitivity and uncertainty analysis

  • Authors: Mannina, G.; Cosenza, A.; Gori, R.; Garrido Baserbac, M.; Sobhani, R.; Rosso, D.
  • Publication year: 2016
  • Type: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


This paper presents the sensitivity and uncertainty analysis of a mathematical model for greenhouse gas emission (GHG) and energy consumption assessment in wastewater treatment plants. A sensitivity analysis was carried out (using two different methods) to determine which model factors have the greatest effect on the predicted values of the GHG production. Further, an uncertainty analysis was carried out to quantify the uncertainty of the key model outputs, such as carbon dioxide production from activated sludge treatment. The results show that influent fractionation factors, which characterize influent composition, have an important role on direct and indirect GHGs production and emission. Moreover, model factors related to the aerobic biomass growth show a relevant influence on GHGs in terms of emission from off-site power generation (mCO2eq,PG). Further, model factors related to the autotrophic biomass growth were found to strongly interact with other factors especially in modeling mCO2eq,PG. Finally, nitrous oxide (N2O) emission associated with the effluent has the highest uncertainty, suggesting the need for a mechanistic model for N2O production in biological treatment.