Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Optimisation-based methodology for the design and operation of sustainable wastewater treatment facilities
Author: Puchongkawarin, Channarong
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 5306
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2016
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The treatment of municipal and industrial wastewaters in conventional wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) requires a significant amount of energy in order to meet ever more stringent discharge regulations. However, the wastewater treatment industry is undergoing a paradigm shift from a focus on waste-stream treatment and contaminant removal to a proactive interest in energy and resource recovery facilities, driven by both economic and environmental incentives. The main objective of this thesis is the development of a decision-making tool in order to identify improvement opportunities in existing WWTPs and to develop new concepts of sustainable wastewater treatment/recovery facilities. The first part of the thesis presents the application of a model-based methodology based on systematic optimisation for improved understanding of the tight interplay between effluent quality, energy use, and fugitive emissions in existing WWTPs. Plant-wide models are developed and calibrated in an objective to predict the performance of two conventional activated sludge plants owned and operated by Sydney Water, Australia. In the first plant, a simulation-based approach is applied to quantify the effect of key operating variables on the effluent quality, energy use, and fugitive emissions. The results show potential for reduced consumption of energy (up to 10-20%) through operational changes only, without compromising effluent quality. It is also found that nitrate (and hence total nitrogen) discharge could be signficantly reduced from its current level with a small increase in energy consumption. These results are also compared to an upgraded plant with reverse osmosis in terms of energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. In the second plant, a systematic model-based optimisation approach is applied to investigate the effect of key discharge constraints on the net power consumption. The results show a potential for reduction of energy (20-25%), without compromising the current effluent quality. The nitrate discharge could be reduced from its current level to less than 15 mg/L with no increase in net power consumption and could be further reduced to < 5 mg/L subject to a 18% increase in net power consumption upon the addition of an external carbon source. This improved understanding of the relationship between nutrient removal and energy use for these two plants will feed into discussions with environmental regulators regarding nutrient discharge licensing. The second part of the thesis deals with the application of a systematic, model-based methodology for the development of wastewater treatment/resource recovery systems that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. With the array of available treatment and recovery options growing steadily, a superstructure modeling approach based on rigorous mathematical optimisation provides a natural approach for tackling these problems. The development of reliable, yet simple, performance and cost models is a key issue with this approach in order to allow for a reliable solution based on global optimisation. it is argued that commercial wastewater simulators can be used to derive such models. The superstructure modeling framework is also able to account for wastewater and sludge treatment in an integrated system and to incorporate LCA with multi-objective optimisation to identify the inherent trade-off between multiple economic and environmental objectives. This approach is illustrated with two case studies of resource recovery from industrial and municipal wastewaters. The results establish that the proposed methodology is computationally tractable, thereby supporting its application as a decision support system for selection of promising wastewater treatment/resource recovery systems whose development is worth pursuing. Our analysis also suggests that accounting for LCA considerations early on in the design process may lead to dramatic changes in the configuration of future wastewater treatment/recovery facilities.
Supervisor: Chachuat, Benoit ; Stuckey, David Sponsor: Government of Thailand ; Imperial College London
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral