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Evaluation of new alternatives in wastewater treatment plants based on dynamic modelling and life cycle assessment (DM-LCA)

Abstract : With a view to quantifying the energy and environmental advantages of Urine Source-Separation (USS) combined with different treatment processes, five wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) scenarios were compared to a reference scenario using Dynamic Modelling (DM) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), and an integrated DM-LCA framework was thus developed. Dynamic simulations were carried out in BioWin (R) in order to obtain a realistic evaluation of the dynamic behaviour and performance of plants under perturbation. LCA calculations were performed within Umberto (R) using the Ecoinvent database. A Pythorin (R) interface was used to integrate and convert simulation data and to introduce them into Umberto (R) to achieve a complete LCA evaluation comprising foreground and background processes. Comparisons between steady-state and dynamic simulations revealed the importance of considering dynamic aspects such as nutrient and flow peaks. The results of the evaluation highlighted the potential of the USS scenario for nutrient recovery whereas the Enhanced Primary Clarification (EPC) scenario gave increased biogas production and also notably decreased aeration consumption, leading to a positive energy balance. Both USS and EPC scenarios also showed increased stability of plant operation, with smaller daily averages of total nitrogen and phosphorus. In this context, USS and EPC results demonstrated that the coupled USS + EPC scenario and its combinations with agricultural spreading of N-rich effluent and nitritation/anaerobic deammonification could present an energy-positive balance with respectively 27% and 33% lower energy requirements and an increase in biogas production of 23%, compared to the reference scenario. The coupled scenarios also presented lesser environmental impacts (reduction of 31% and 39% in total endpoint impacts) along with effluent quality well within the specified limits. The marked environmental performance (reduction of global warming) when nitrogen is used in agriculture shows the importance of future research on sustainable solutions for nitrogen recovery. The contribution analysis of midpoint impacts also showed hotspots that it will be important to optimize further, such as plant infrastructure and direct N2O emissions.
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Ana Barbara Bisinella de Faria, Mathieu Sperandio, Aras Ahmadi, Ligia Barna. Evaluation of new alternatives in wastewater treatment plants based on dynamic modelling and life cycle assessment (DM-LCA). Water Research, IWA Publishing, 2015, 84, pp.99-111. ⟨10.1016/j.watres.2015.06.048⟩. ⟨hal-01269415⟩



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