Benchmarking strategies to control GHG production and emissions

Xavier Flores-Alsina*, Magnus Arnell, Lluís Corominas, Chris Sweetapple, Guangtao Fu, David Butler, Peter A. Vanrolleghem, Krist V. Gernaey, Ulf Jeppsson

*Corresponding author for this work

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Benchmarking has been a useful tool for unbiased comparison of control strategies in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in terms of effluent quality, operational cost and risk of suffering microbiology-related total suspended solids (TSS) separation problems. This chapter presents the status of extending the original Benchmark Simulation Model No 2 (BSM2) towards including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A mathematical approach based on a set of comprehensive models that estimate all potential on-site and off-site sources of CO2, CH4 and N2O is presented and discussed in detail. Based upon the assumptions built into the model structures, simulation results highlight the potential undesirable effects on increased GHG emissions when carrying out local energy optimization in the activated sludge section and/or energy recovery in the anaerobic digester. Although off-site CO2 emissions may decrease in such scenarios due to either lower aeration energy requirement or higher heat and electricity production, these effects may be counterbalanced by increased N2O emissions, especially since N2O has a 300-fold stronger greenhouse effect than CO2. The reported results emphasize the importance of using integrated approaches when comparing and evaluating (plant-wide) control strategies in WWTPs for more informed operational decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQuantification and Modelling of Fugitive Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Urban Water Systems : A report from the IWA Task Group on GHG
EditorsLiu Ye, Jose Porro, Ingmar Nopens
PublisherIWA Publishing
Publication date2022
ISBN (Print)9781789060454
ISBN (Electronic)9781789060461
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Carbon footprint
  • Control strategies
  • GHG
  • Modelling
  • Multi-criteria evaluation
  • Plant-wide
  • Sustainability


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