Application of the NDHA model to describe N2O dynamics in activated sludge mixed culture biomass

Carlos Domingo-Felez, Barth F. Smets

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    A pseudo-mechanistic model describing three biological nitric oxide (NO) and nitrous oxide (N2O) production pathways was calibrated for an activated sludge mixed culture biomass treating municipal wastewater with laboratory-scale experiments. The model (NDHA) comprehensively describes N2O producing pathways by both autotrophic ammonium oxidizing and heterotrophic bacteria. Extant respirometric assays and anaerobic batch experiments were designed to calibrate the endogenous, heterotrophic denitrification and autotrophic ammonium/nitrite oxidation processes together with the associated net N2O production. Ten parameters describing heterotrophic processes and seven for autotrophic processes were estimated accurately (variance/mean < 25%). The model predicted the N2O and NO dynamics at varying dissolved oxygen, ammonium and nitrite levels and was validated with a different set of batch experiments with the same biomass. Aerobic ammonium oxidation experiments at two oxygen levels used for model evaluation (2 and 0.5 mg/L) indicated that the nitrifier denitrification (42, 64%) and heterotrophic denitrification (7, 17%) pathways increased and dominated the total N2O production at high nitrite and low oxygen concentrations; while the nitrifier nitrification pathway showed the largest contribution at high dissolved oxygen levels (51, 19%). The uncertainty of the biological parameter estimates was propagated to N2O model outputs via Monte Carlo simulations as 95% confidence intervals. The accuracy of the estimated parameters corresponded to a low uncertainty of the N2O emission factors (4.6 ± 0.6% and 1.2 ± 0.1%).
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2018
    Number of pages4
    Publication statusPublished - 2018
    Event6th IWA/WEF Water Resource Recovery Modelling Seminar (WRRmod 2018) - Quebec, Canada
    Duration: 10 Mar 201814 Mar 2018
    Conference number: 6


    Conference6th IWA/WEF Water Resource Recovery Modelling Seminar (WRRmod 2018)


    • Modelling
    • ASM
    • Nitrous oxide
    • Uncertainty
    • Activated sludge


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