Ammonium Feedback Control in Wastewater Treatment Plants
Abstract: The aeration process is often the single largest consumer of electricity in a wastewater treatment plant. Aeration in biological reactors provides microorganisms with oxygen which is required to convert ammonium to nitrate. Ammonium is toxic for aqueous ecosystems and contributes to eutrophication. The importance of aeration for the treatment results in combination with the high costs motivates automatic control of the aeration process.This thesis is devoted to ammonium feedback control in municipal wastewater treatment plants. With ammonium feedback control, the aeration intensity is changed based on a measurement of the outlet ammonium concentration. The main focus of the thesis is design, implementation, evaluation and improvement of ammonium PI (proportional-integral) controllers.The benefits of ammonium feedback control are established through long-term experiments at three large wastewater treatment plants in Stockholm, Sweden. With ammonium feedback control, energy savings up to around 10 % were achieved compared to keeping the dissolved oxygen concentration constant. The experiments generated several lessons learned with regard to implementation and evaluation of controllers in full-scale operation.The thesis has established guidelines on how to design ammonium feedback controllers for situations when cost-effective operation is the overall aim. Simulations have demonstrated the importance to limit the dissolved oxygen concentration in the process and under what conditions the energy saving with ammonium feedback control is large.The final part of the thesis treats improvements of ammonium PI control through minor modifications to the control structure or controller. Three strategies were studied: gain scheduling control, repetitive control, and a strategy reacting to oxygen peaks in the last aerobic zone. The strategies all had their benefits but the ammonium feedback controller was the key factor to improved aeration control.
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