A mathematical programming framework for early stage design of wastewater treatment plants

Hande Bozkurt, Alberto Quaglia, Krist Gernaey, Gürkan Sin

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The increasing number of alternative wastewater treatment technologies and stricter effluent requirements make the optimal treatment process selection for wastewater treatment plant design a complicated problem. This task, defined as wastewater treatment process synthesis, is currently based on expert decisions and previous experiences. This paper proposes a new approach based on mathematical programming to manage the complexity of the problem. The approach generates/identifies novel and optimal wastewater treatment process selection, and the interconnection between unit operations to create a process flow diagram. Towards this end, a superstructure approach is used to represent the treatment alternatives for reaction and separation. A generic process interval model is used to describe each alternative in terms of inputeoutput mass balances including conversion and separation factors. Next the design problem is formulated as a Mixed Integer (Non)linear Programming problem e MI(N)LP e and solved. A case study is formulated and solved to highlight the application of the framework. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Modelling & Software
Pages (from-to)164-176
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Design
  • Superstructure optimization
  • Wastewater treatment
  • Process flow
  • Interconnection

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