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Towards a reduction of greenhouse gas emission from wastewater treatment plants: a new plant wide experimental and modelling approach

  • Authors: Caniani, D.; Esposito, G.; Gori, R.; Caivano, M.; Pascale, R.; Mazzone, G.; Cosenza, A.; Abouissa, A.; Mannina, G.
  • Publication year: 2016
  • Type: Proceedings (TIPOLOGIA NON ATTIVA)
  • Key words: Decision support system; energy consumptions; GHG emissions; modelling; WWTPs
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The increasing interest in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) has led to the development of new tools for their design and management. Studies about gas emissions show that the sewer collection and the wastewater treatment plant are anthropogenic GHG potential sources, so they contribute to the climate change and air pollution. A wastewater treatment plant receives wastewater from sewers and, while produces treated water for discharge into surface water, emits the three major greenhouse gases, CO2, CH4, and N2O, during the treatment processes, and additional amounts of CO2 and CH4 from the energy demands (Bani Shahabadi et al., 2009). Indeed, energy consumption can be considered as an indirect source of GHGs. Greenhouse-gas emissions are generated by water-line and sludge- line processes and by the on-site combustion of biogas and fossil fuels for energy generation. GHGs may also be produced during sludge disposal or reuse (transportation and degradation of remaining biosolids off-site), off-site energy production and off-site chemicals production. In recent years, increasing attention is given to the assessment of N2O emissions from WWTPs. N2O is a powerful greenhouse gas that is almost 300 times stronger than CO2. Nevertheless, the source and magnitude of N2O are relatively unknown and the knowledge is still incomplete. This paper presents the first results of an ongoing research project aiming at setting-up an innovative mathematical model platform (Decision Support System—DSS) for the design and management of WWTPs. The project is constituted by four research units (UOs) and its final goal is to minimize, by means of this platform, the environmental impact of WWTPs through their optimization in terms of energy consumptions and pollutants, sludge and GHG emissions.