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Evaluation of greenhouse gas

emissions from municipal UASB


wastewater treatment plants
Original authors: B. Heffernan, J. Blanc, H. Spanjers

Jan Pereboom

Biothane Systems International


Tel: +31.(0).15.27.00.121
E-Mail: jan.perebom@veoliawater.com
Contents

1. Introduction
2. Methods
3. Carbon footprint
4. OPEX
5. Conclusions

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1

Introduction
Municipal UASB reactor
Influent distribution box
Gashood Effluent collection

Gas Deflector

Sludge blanket
Sludge withdrawal pipe
Influent distribution pipes 4
Typical UASB process diagram

Raw
wastewater
Influent pumping Coarse and fine screens Aerated grit chamber

UASB reactor Activated sludge Final settler Treated water

Sludge
disposal

Sludge thickener Anaerobic digester Centrifuge

Biogas holder Biogas scrubber Electricity


Biogas flare

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COD Conversion Anaerobic vs Aerobic

Heat loss Biogas


50-60 kg COD

Carbon Dioxide Anaerobic


Aerobic
BOD
Air (O )
O
BOD
O
(25 C 35 C)
2

100 kg COD 100 kg COD


Biomass
2-10 kg COD
30-40 kg COD

Sludge, 30-40 kg COD Sludge 15-20 kg COD


Advantages of municipal UASB

Capable of removing between 60 80% of COD, BOD and TSS


Very low operational costs
Low energy demand
Energy production in the form of biogas
Low sludge production
Low or no chemical consumption

Example Top view of UASB reactor Onca, Brazil


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The municipal UASB market
Countries with municipal UASB treatment plants

North Asia
North Europe
America Central
North America Asia
East
Asia
Middle South
East Asia

Africa Southeast
Asia
South
South
America
America

Oceania

1
2-5
6-50

Largest plant constructed to date 340 MLD (2009 India) 8


The municipal UASB market
Countries with municipal UASB treatment plants

17%

74%

3%
2%
1%
1%
1%
1%

India Brazil Mexico Columbia UAE Pakistan Honduras Indonesia Egypt

Largest plant constructed to date 340 MLD (2009 India) 9


Dissolved methane in effluent of municipal UASBs
Methane has a low solubility
Dissolved Methane estimations by Henrys Law
Methane conc. (70 80%); Atmospheric 1 Bar; Ambient Temperature

Dissolved methane concentration as a function of temperature


30.0
Dissolved methane concentration

28.0
26.0
24.0
22.0
20.0
(mg/l)

18.0
16.0
14.0
12.0
10.0
5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40
Temperature
Dissolved Methane in UASB effluents

COD determines Methane in effluent

Parameter Sewage Brewery Units

Flow 50,000 6,000 m3/d


COD 500 3,000 mg/l
Temperature 20 35 C
Dissolved CH4 20 17 mg/l
Digested COD 55% 80% mg COD/l
Effluent COD 20% 15% mg COD/l
Sludge COD 25% 5% mg COD/l

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Dissolved Methane in UASB effluents

COD determines Methane in effluent

Sewage Brewery

3%

29%

71%

97%

CH4 effluent CH4 gas phase CH4 effluent CH4 gas phase

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Dissolved Methane in municipal UASB effluents

Up to 25 40% of the produced Methane in effluent


CH4 is a potent green house gas
Valuable Energy is lost

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2

Methods
Basis for carbon footprint analysis

Municipal plant for 1.0 mln population equivalents

Influent characteristics Effluent requirements


Parameter Value Parameter Value
Flow (m3/d) 130,000 Flow (m3/d) -
COD (mg/l) 600 COD (mg/l) 125
BOD5 (mg/l) 300 BOD5 (mg/l) 10
TSS (mg/l) 315 TSS (mg/l) 10
NH4-N (mg/l) 35 NH4-N (mg/l) 2

Design sewage temperature was 25C

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Treatment options

UASB is pre-treatment
Aerobic post-treatment needed to meet effluent limits

1. Primary clarification
Primary clarification + activated sludge + digester

2. UASB with methane recovery


UASB + activated sludge + digester

3. UASB without methane recovery


UASB + activated sludge + digester

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Treatment options

1. Primary clarification
Primary and secondary sludge are digested anaerobic
Biogas is used for energy production

Screened and
degritted sewage

Primary clarifier Aerobic reactor Settler

Biogas engine

Sludge digester

Dewatering unit
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Treatment options

2. UASB with methane recovery


UASB surplus sludge digested
Methane in effluent recovered and utilised

Screened and
degritted sewage

Pre-aeration Aerobic reactor Settler


reactor
UASB

Biogas engine

Sludge digester

Dewatering unit
Combustion gas 18
Treatment options

3. UASB without methane recovery


UASB surplus sludge digested

Screened and
degritted sewage

Aerobic reactor Settler


UASB

Biogas engine

Sludge digester

Dewatering unit
Combustion gas 19
Emissions considered in carbon footprint

Upstream activities:
The electricity emissions factor is country specific
The emission factor for the UAE is 0.82 kg CO2 eq/kWh
Electricity is used on site excess is sent to grid
Chemical consumption (polymer)
Onsite activities:
Distributed CH4 loss estimated at 1% for all three configurations
Downstream
Sludge disposed to landfill with no CH4 recovery

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Emissions not considered in carbon footprint

Upstream activities :
Plant construction ; usually > 5% of emissions over lifetime

CO2 produced in the treatment process (short cycle)

N2O emissions (Ahn et al., 2010)

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Direct and avoided emissions
Direct emissions are all green house gas emissions from STP:
Electricity generation
Chemical consumption
Avoided emissions by sold by-products
Excess electricity that is sold to the grid
Fertilizer based on removed N+P
Direct emissions are a positive number avoided are negative

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3

Results
GHG emissions
GHG emissions for the three configurations
30,000

25,000

20,000
Tons CO2 eq/y

15,000
25,500
22,400
10,000

5,000
6,900
0
0 -4,200 -200
-5,000

-10,000
Primary clarification UASB with CH4 recovery UASB without CH4
recovery

UASB with CH4 recovery has the lowest carbon footprint


Influence of electrical emission factor
India - High carbon power (0.994 kg CO2 eq/kWh)
30,000

25,000

20,000
Tons CO2 eq/y

15,000

10,000

5,000

-5,000

-10,000
Primary clarification UASB with CH4 recovery UASB without CH4 recovery

Energy Process Reagents Sludge Avoided Emissions


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Influence of electrical emission factor
Brazil - low carbon power (0.081 kg CO2 eq/kWh)
30,000

25,000

20,000
Tons CO2 eq/y

15,000

10,000

5,000

-5,000
Primary clarification UASB with CH4 recovery UASB without CH4 recovery

Energy Process Reagents Sludge Avoided Emissions


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4

OPEX cost estimation


Basis for cost comparison

Cost price of electricity 0.12 $/kWh


Sales price of electricity 0.06 $/kWh
Sludge disposal cost 120 $/ton dry solids
Polymer dosing rate 10 kg PE/ton dry solids
Polymer cost 4500 $/ton PE

Technology Development
Energy production/consumption
3,000
Electricity production/comsumption (kW)

2,500

2,000

1,500

1,000

500

0
Primary clarification UASB with CH4 recovery UASB without CH4 recovery

Electricity produced Electricity consumed


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OPEX
$3,000,000

$2,500,000 $2,390,385

$2,000,000
OPEX (US$/yr)

$1,500,000

$1,000,000

$500,000
$222,833

$0
-$92,528
-$500,000
Primary clarification UASB with CH4 recovery UASB without CH4
recovery

Total Electricity cost Sludge disposal cost Polymer cost 30


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Conclusions
Conclusions

The carbon footprint of a municipal UASB is worse


than a conventional aerobic treatment plant
Methane recovery can make municipal UASB systems
better than conventional aerobic treatment plants
Sludge disposal is an important consideration for the
carbon footprint of a treatment plant
Methane recovery is also cost effective

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Conclusions

Thank you for your attention


Questions

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Limitations of municipal UASB

COD/SO4 ratio below 3 Organic COD is converted to inorganic


COD (H2S) in the UASB.
Strict nitrogen limits
Temperature Below 15C, the rate of anaerobic digestion is
very low
Methane dissolved in effluent

North
America

UASB non-applicable

UASB applicable
South
America

Example Top view of UASB reactor Onca, Brazil


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Carbon constraint

Resource depletion: Carbon taxes/Carbon credits:


As fossil fuels becomes scarcer As temperatures rise
the cost of energy is likely to governments are/will take action
increase to reduce GHGs emissions

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Detailed GHG emissions
Detailed breakdown of sources of CO2 emissions
Primary clarification
30,000

25,000
22,370

20,000
Tons CO2 eq/y

15,000
53%
43%
10,000

5,000
2% 2%
0
0
-5,000
Energy Process Reagents Sludge Avoided Total
Emissions
Detailed GHG emissions
Detailed breakdown of sources of CO2 emissions
UASB with CH4 recovery
30,000

25,000

20,000
Tons CO2 eq/y

15,000

10,000
6,850
77.5%
5,000
0% 20.5% 2%
0

-5,000 -4,200
Energy Process Reagents Sludge Avoided Total
Emissions
Detailed GHG emissions
Detailed breakdown of sources of CO2 emissions
UASB without CH4 recovery
30,000
25,450
25,000

79%
20,000
Tons CO2 eq/y

15,000

10,000
20.5%
5,000
0 0.5%
0
-200
-5,000
Energy Process Reagents Sludge Avoided Total
Emissions
Comparison with literature results
1.80

1.58
1.60
1.46
1.40

1.20
kg CO2 eq/kg COD

1.04
1.00
0.90
0.79
0.80

0.60

0.40
0.24
0.20

0.00
PC+AS UASBre+AS UASBno+AS

Present study Keller and Hartely


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Influence of electrical emission factor
Countries where municipal UASBs plants are in operation

North
America

South
America

Country Emission factor (kg CO2/kWh) Carbon power


Mexico 0.541 Medium
Brazil 0.081 Low
India 0.944 High
Egypt 0.470 Medium
UAE 0.820 High
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Influence of electrical emission factor

Electrical emission factor


Varies depending on how electricity is produced
Country fuel mix determines the electrical emission factor
Three Electrical emission factor categories:
High carbon power
Medium carbon power
Low carbon power

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Influence of electrical emission factor
Egypt - medium carbon power (0.447 kg CO2 eq/kWh)
30,000

25,000

20,000
Tons CO2 eq/y

15,000

10,000

5,000

-5,000
Primary clarification UASB with CH4 recovery UASB without CH4 recovery

Energy Process Reagents Sludge Avoided Emissions


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Excess sludge production
18,000

16,000
Excess sludg production (kg TSS/d)

14,000

12,000

10,000

8,000

6,000

4,000

2,000

0
Primary clarification UASB with CH4 recovery UASB without CH4
recovery

Excess sludge production


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Polymer dosing
70

60

50
Polymer dosing (Ton/y)

40

30

20

10

0
Primary clarification UASB with CH4 recovery UASB without CH4 recovery

Polymer use
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