The optimal dissolved oxygen profile in a nitrifying activated sludge process – comparisons with ammonium feedback control

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Ammonium feedback control is increasingly used to determine the dissolved oxygen (DO) set-point in aerated activated sludge processes for nitrogen removal. This study compares proportional-integral (PI) ammonium feedback control with a DO profile created from a mathematical minimisation of the daily air flow rate. All simulated scenarios are set to reach the same treatment level of ammonium, based on a daily average concentration. The influent includes daily variations only and the model has three aerated zones. Comparisons are made at different plant loads and DO concentrations, and the placement of the ammonium sensor is investigated. The results show that ammonium PI control can achieve the best performance if the DO set-point is limited at a maximum value and with little integral action in the controller. Compared with constant DO control the best-performing ammonium controller can achieve 1–3.5% savings in the air flow rate, while the optimal solution can achieve a 3–7% saving. Energy savings are larger when operating at higher DO concentrations.

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