A linear reduced-order model for the activated sludge process for the integration into a mixed-integer linear energy system optimisation model

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November 3, 2023
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Conventional wastewater treatment plants consume significant amounts of electricity. The constant aeration of the wastewater in order to foster the growth of microorganisms or the pumping of wastewater are two examples for energy-intensive processes within a plant. Case studies have shown that switching off blowers and inlet pumps for a certain period of time is possible without a loss in water quality. This yields a potential for wastewater treatment plants to provide demand response (DR) to the power system and thereby increase overall system flexibility. So far, the DR potential has only been quantified for individual plants, while the effects of large-scale DR provision by the wastewater treatment sector for the power system have not yet been studied. One reason for this is the lack of optimisation models which include both the wastewater treatment process and the power system operation in sufficient detail. Our model tackles this gap in the literature by providing a reduced-order linear biochemical model for the activated sludge
process within a WWTP that can be incorporated into an operational energy system model. The results show that the effluent concentrations are predicted well by the linear reduced-order model in comparison to the results of the Standard Activated-Sludge model No. 1 (ASM1). Potential model applications are the variation of the airflow rate within a certain range and the variation of liquid influent flow rate to the system, which is a result of electricity load shedding of the inlet pumps and the blowers connected to the activated sludge tank.