Aeration alone can account for between 45 and 75% of total energy usage at wastewater treatment plants (WWTP)

Project Insights

  • €113,053

    Total Project Costs
  • 1 yr

    Project Duration
  • 2018

    Year Funded

Project Description

Wastewater treatment is an energy intensive process which utilises about 3 % of a developed countries electricity; within this aeration generally amounts to 45-75% of a wastewater treatment plants' (WWTP) energy bill. The need to reduce energy consumption (while meeting regulation) are major drivers for innovation in this sector. Currently the “go-to” aeration technology for upgrade, is fine bubble diffused aeration (FBDA). FBDA systems are largely procured due to their energy efficiency metrics determined in controlled, clean water laboratory environments, by the equipment vendor. However, in-situ these efficiency values can decline to as low as 40 % of laboratory conditions due to dissolved surfactants and further reduce due to fouling. Furthermore, diffused systems often require additional energy intensive mixers and maintenance can be difficult (due to diffuser location at the bottom of biological reactors). To address these challenges, the project team have developed a patent pending aeration technology (Vortex Power Aerator (VPA)). A site-scale VPA has been tested in controlled conditions and has demonstrated significant potential to out-compete conventional technologies. The aim of this study is to investigate the operational performance of diffused aeration and VPA technology using a full scale trial at a municipal WWTP. The outputs of the study will include comparison of the in-situ performance of the technologies (i.e. energy used to mix and aerate). The project will also develop novel energy efficiency metrics, based on in-situ data (in comparison with certified data) to inform improved technology choice in the wastewater sector.

Project Details

Total Project Cost: €113,053

Funding Agency: SEAI

Year Funded: 2018

Lead Organisation: National University of Ireland Galway

Collaborators: Ward & Burke Construction Ltd

Eoghan Clifford | Lead Researcher(s)