Depending on design capacity, agitators consume about 5 to 20% of the total energy consumption of a wastewater treatment plant. Based on inhabitant-specific energy consumption (kWh PE120−1 a−1; PE120 is population equivalent, assuming 120 g chemical oxygen demand per PE per day), power density (W m−3) and volume-specific energy consumption (Wh m−3 d−1) as evaluation indicators, this paper provides a sound contribution to understanding energy consumption and energy optimization potentials of agitators. Basically, there are two ways to optimize agitator operation: the reduction of the power density and the reduction of the daily operating time. Energy saving options range from continuous mixing with low power densities of 1 W m−3 to mixing by means of short, intense energy pulses (impulse aeration, impulse stirring). However, the following correlation applies: the shorter the duration of energy input, the higher the power density on the respective volume-specific energy consumption isoline. Under favourable conditions with respect to tank volume, tank geometry, aeration and agitator position, mixing energy can be reduced to 24 Wh m−3 d−1 and below. Additionally, it could be verified that power density of agitators stands in inverse relation to tank volume.

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