Techno-economic analysis of resource recovery technologies for wastewater treatment plants

Riccardo Boiocchi, Beatriz Matafome, Carina Loureiro da Costa Lira Gargalo, Ana Carvalho, Gürkan Sin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


The high nutrient content of domestic wastewater can be efficiently recovered through specific technologies included in dedicated wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Nevertheless, the operational costs linked to the implementation of these technologies can make them economically unfeasible. It is therefore important to evaluate the best way to upgrade an already existing WWTP from an economic point of view. In the present work, this is virtually done by using a simulation model, namely the Benchmark Simulation Model no2 (BSM2), as base case study. The BSM2 is extended by including the following resource-recovery treatment units: (a) a chemical precipitation process, for recovery of iron phosphate fertilizer; (b) the Exelys technology, for increased biogas production; and, (c) the Phosnix technology, for recovery of struvite fertilizer. Seven upgrade strategies/flowsheets employing different combinations of the recovery technologies are generated and evaluated. The evaluation results have shown that the most economically beneficial strategy to upgrade the WWTP is to employ a Phosnix reactor in the side-stream to recover phosphorus from the bottom of the dewatering treatment unit. All other upgrading combinations involving chemical precipitation and Exelys technologies were not found economical for the given plant. Sensitivity analyses on the economic evaluation criteria have demonstrated that the results obtained are robust against uncertainties in influent wastewater characteristics and technical (e.g. recovery yield) performance parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering (ESCAPE 27)
EditorsAntonio Espuña, Moisès Graells, Luis Puigjaner
Publication date2017
ISBN (Print)9780444639653
ISBN (Electronic)9780444639707
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 1 Oct 20175 Oct 2017
Conference number: 27


Conference27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering
Internet address

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