Assessment of online monitoring strategies for measuring N2O emissions from full-scale wastewater treatment systems

Marques, Ricardo
Oehmen, Adrian
Pijuan i Vilalta, Maite
Clark-Type nitrous oxide (N 2 O) sensors are routinely used to measure dissolved N 2 O concentrations in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), but have never before been applied to assess gas-phase N 2 O emissions in full-scale WWTPs. In this study, a full-scale N 2 O gas sensor was tested and validated for online gas measurements, and assessed with respect to its linearity, temperature dependence, signal saturation and drift prior to full-scale application. The sensor was linear at the concentrations tested (0-422.3, 0-50 and 0-10 ppmv N 2 O) and had a linear response up to 2750 ppmv N 2 O. An exponential correlation between temperature and sensor signal was described and predicted using a double exponential equation while the drift did not have a significant influence on the signal. The N 2 O gas sensor was used for online N 2 O monitoring in a full-scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) treating domestic wastewater and results were compared with those obtained by a commercial online gas analyser. Emissions were successfully described by the sensor, being even more accurate than the values given by the commercial analyser at N 2 O concentrations above 500 ppmv. Data from this gas N 2 O sensor was also used to validate two models to predict N 2 O emissions from dissolved N 2 O measurements, one based on oxygen transfer rate and the other based on superficial velocity of the gas bubble. Using the first model, predictions for N 2 O emissions agreed by 98.7% with the measured by the gas sensor, while 87.0% similarity was obtained with the second model. This is the first study showing a reliable estimation of gas emissions based on dissolved N 2 O online data in a full-scale wastewater treatment facility ​
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