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Optimization of activated sludge process through energy saving

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
2. Water quality, wastewater and reuse
Author(s): Ramón Merino Loo, Aída Velasquez Fonseca

Ramón Merino Loo
Eco Sistemas del Agua, SA de CV
Aída Velasquez Fonseca
Eco Sistemas del Agua, SA de CV

Keyword(s): Optimization, activated sludge, energy saving, saving, energy, wastewater, operation, maintenance, enviromental protection, operating costs
Article: Oral:



c) Study or work (“Project)


30 minutes



We cannot deny that the inefficient use of the water on the planet, is an old and actual problem, this is why water management has become a strategic topic worldwide, as the demand for this vital liquid grows day by day and almost twice as fast as the grow rate of global population, increasing the need to create better systems of use, care and treatment of water.

Therefore, it is a required task from governments, institutions and general population, finding viable solutions to the problems of not only the supply and quality of water, but also with energy conservation and environmental protection.

One of the wastewater treatment process that achieves a high percentage removal and results in treated water of excellent quality, is "activated sludge" in its various forms, however, the biggest drawback to using this system is the high cost associated with the consumption of energy used to meet the demand of oxygen required in this type of process to achieve oxidation of organic matter, it generally represents about 50% of total energy consumption of a plant.

This situation makes the aeration system and its control and operation a key energy saving element, so, in this study the optimization of the "activated sludge" process is analyzed but not only in the energy aspect but from a more integral perspective, performing a series of measurements and data analysis to determine all the factors that influence the process in order to optimize energy consumption and under the premise that the demand for oxygen needed to oxidize organic matter, changes throughout the day depending on the water flow and arrival concentration among other factors that have been underestimated like the process efficiency depending on weather.

The presented work gather the practical experiences gained during the operation and maintenance of several wastewater treatment plants located in Mexico, in which it has been experimented and systematically analyzed the adjustment of parameters of the process controlling air flow and aeration times, which is reflected in the optimization of energy consumption, reducing operating costs by up to 20 -30% without lowering the efficiency of removal and obtaining a high quality of treated water.

This development in the routine measurements among other experiences on operational control, enable the gathering of valuable information that we can use to achieve energy optimization and reduction in operational costs.

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