Unravelling the environmental and economic impacts of innovative technologies for the enhancement of biogas production and sludge management in wastewater systems

Andrea Arias*, Chitta Ranjan Behera*, Gumersindo Feijoo, Gürkan Sin, María Teresa Moreira

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The retrofitting of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) should be addressed under sustainability criteria. It is well known that there are two elements that most penalize wastewater treatment: (i) energy requirements and (ii) sludge management. New technologies should reduce both of these drawbacks to address technical efficiency, carbon neutrality and reduced economic costs.In this context, the main objective of this work was to evaluate two real plants of different size in which major modifications were considered: enhanced recovery of organic matter (OM) in the primary treatment and partial-anammox nitrification process in the secondary treatment. Plant-wide modelling provided an estimate of the input and output flows of each process unit as well as the diagnosis of the main performance indicators, which served as a basis for the calculation of environmental and economic indicators using the LCA methodology.The combination of high-rate activated sludge (HRAS) + partial nitrification Anammox can decrease the environmental impacts by about 70% in the climate change (CC) category and 50% in the eutrophication potential (EP) category. Moreover, costs can be reduced by 35–45% depending on the size of the plant. In addition, the enhanced rotating belt filter (ERBF) can also improve the environmental profile, but to a lesser extent than the previous scenario, only up to 10% for CC and 15% for EP. These positive results are only possible considering the production of energy through biogas valorization according to the waste-to-energy scheme.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110965
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume270
Number of pages12
ISSN0301-4797
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • High rate activated sludge (HRAS)
  • Enhanced rotating belt filter (ERBF) integrated
  • fixed film activated sludge (IFAS)
  • Life cycle assessment (LCA)
  • Scale-up analysis
  • Wastewater treatment modelling

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