Because the aeration system in an activated sludge plant typically represents a large part of the total energy requirements, designers and operators need accurate oxygen transfer information to make the aeration system as energy efficient as possible. This paper presents clean water tests performed at 38 wastewater treatment plants. The Specific Aeration Efficiency results (SAE, kgO2/kWh) are reported for: (1) large open channels (volume higher than 1000 m3), (2) small open channels, (3) total floor coverage cylindrical tanks, and (4) cylindrical tanks with a grid arrangement. Some practical guidelines can be drawn, some of them being: (1) high SAE can be achieved at small aeration tanks (<1000m3), applying cylindrical tanks with a total floor coverage arrangement of diffusers, volumetric blowers, and moderate air flow rates per diffuser area; (2) the high investment cost of this configuration can be justified with respect to a grid layout characterized by spiral liquid circulation which affects the oxygen transfer; (3) small open channels can meet sufficient SAE values but fail to meet in this range of tank volumes those of total floor coverage cylindrical tanks.

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