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Towards a conceptual mathematical tool linking physical and biological processes for a reduction of ghg emissions from an mb-mbr plant

  • Authors: Mannina, G.; Capodici, M.; Cosenza, A.; DI TRAPANI, D.
  • Publication year: 2016
  • Type: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • Key words: Wastewater treatment; membrane; moving bed biofilm reactors; global warming potential
  • OA Link:


The current study explores the influence of the air flow rate on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (direct and indirect), the operational costs (OCs), the effluent quality index (EQI) and effluent fines (EF). An University Cape Town (UCT) moving bed (MB) membrane bioreactor (MBR) pilot plant has been considered as case study where the influence of the air flow rate on the biological and physical processes has been analyzed. Constitutive relationships between the air flow rate and some performance indicators (i.e., EQI, OCs, direct and indirect GHG emissions) have been identified. Results showed that the EQI increases at low flow rate likely due to the dissolved oxygen (DO) limitation in the biological processes. Direct GHGs are influenced by air flow exponentially increasing with the increase of the air flow due to the anoxic N2O contribution. Irreversible membrane fouling reduce from 98% to 85% with the increasing of the air flow rate from 0.57 m3 h-1 to 2.56 m3 h- 1. However, the increase of the air flow rate leads to the increase of the N2O-N flux emitted from the MBR (from 40% to 80%). In order to establish a mathematical tool to reduce GHG emissions maintaining good effluent quality, results suggest of adopting a relationship based on a “multiple objective”.