This work provides a case study on how activated sludge modelling and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can help to optimize the energy consumption of a treatment plant that is already equipped with an advanced control based on online nutrient measurements. Currently, aeration basins on wastewater treatment plant Antwerp-South are operated sequentially while flow direction and point of inflow and outflow vary as a function of time. Activated sludge modelling shows that switching from the existing alternating flow based control to a simultaneous parallel feeding of all aeration tanks saves 1.3% energy. CFD calculations also illustrate that the water velocity is still sufficient if some impellers in the aeration basins are shutdown. The simulations of the Activated Sludge Model No. 2d indicate that the coupling of the aeration control with the impeller control, and automatically switching off some impellers when the aeration is inactive, can save 2.2 to 3.3% of energy without affecting the nutrient removal efficiency. On the other hand, all impellers are needed when the aeration is active to distribute the oxygen.

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