Optimal design and control of aerobic granular sludge reactors for sustainable wastewater treatment

01 November 2019 → 31 October 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Engineering and technology
    • Bioremediation
    • Environmental technologies
    • Sustainable development
wastewater treatment
Project description

The aerobic granular sludge process is a true innovation in the field of wastewater treatment. Compared to conventional activated sludge systems it realizes 75% footprint reduction, 30% energy savings and up to 25% lower investment costs. These advantages result from the dense granules that remove all nutrients in a single reactor and that make secondary settling tanks unnecessary because of their excellent settling properties. The process has been implemented on full-scale, but there still is a need for optimization in terms of reactor design and control, which will be addressed in this research project. First, strategies to keep a good effluent quality and further reduce the energy demand, costs and footprint will be investigated. Then the added value of off-gas analysis to reduce N2O emissions and for everyday operation will be explored. Finally, the potential of a continuous reactor design will be investigated in view of refurbishment projects of existing installations in Flanders. Those plants will be compared with the operation of conventional batch-wise reactors. The objectives will be reached by modeling and simulation, lab-scale and full-scale experiments as well as data reconciliation techniques. The project’s success is guaranteed through the research potential and skills of the applicant, the innovative nature of the project, and the full support and most relevant expertise of the supervisor and advisory committee.