Individual Projects

List of Individual Research Projects

 

ESR 1 Decision making and multicriteria analysis (environmental, economical impacts) in UWS

ESR 2 Energy optimization in membrane integrated systems for water reuse

ESR 3 Anaerobic processes for energy conservation and biotransformation of pollutants

ESR 4 Catchment based and real–time based consenting

ESR 5a Biodegradation of micropollutants

ESR 5b Assessment and control of sewer detrimental emissions for optimal Mediterranean UWS management

ESR 6 Detailed modelling of GHG emission from WWTP using integrated CFD and biological models

ESR 7 Development of a system–wide benchmark system for Urban Water Systems (UWS)

ESR 8 Development of an enhanced benchmark system for Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTPs)

ESR 9 Practical application of models in UWS: Simulation–based scenario analysis for reducing carbon footprint, nitrite production and micropollutant discharge in UWS operation

ESR 10 Improved modelling, design and control of granular sludge reactors in future energy–positive WWTPs

ER 1 Qualitative modelling in UWS

ER 2 Integrated advanced technologies for water reuse

ER 3 Tool development for cost effective control strategies in UWS

ER 4 Advanced research for water reuse systems and impact on receiving media

 

ESR 1 (Research project 3.A – 36 PM)
Host partner Universitat de Girona, Lequia research group
Recruited fellow: Antonia Hadjimicael
Title: Decision making and multicriteria analysis (environmental, economical impacts) in UWS.

The main objective is to develop decision support tools for sustainable design and integrated management of the UWS. The sub-objectives are: 1) to define a simulation protocol to evaluate the performance of the system against several perturbations, 2) to use system’s analysis techniques and heuristic knowledge to facilitate the interpretation of results, and 3) to use multicriteria analysis to select the most suitable solution for each problematic situation. The provided solutions should maximize water quality (nutrients and micropollutants), minimize treatment costs and increase reliability.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP3. The work will be developed as follows. 1) Integrate performance criteria for GHG emission, micropollutants and pathogens removal and energy consumption. 2) Knowledge acquisition for the development a rule–based knowledge base aiming at enabling an evaluation, comparison and conceptual design of the UWS, in main steps: i) hierarchical generation of wastewater treatment processes and ii) multicriteria (economical, environmental and technological) evaluation of alternative solutions through simplified mathematical models. 3) Develop a knowledge base for the integrated management of the different elements of the UWS. Optimal operational strategies will be identified through Monte Carlo simulations followed by a global sensitive analysis for each studied scenario (storm events, organic shock, toxic event and increase of population or minimal river flow rate). 4) Test and validation of the decision support tools in front of different scenarios and temporal horizons. Some scenarios will consider the impact of climate on both the design of new UWS and management of existing UWS (e.g. drought periods). This research project will integrate outcomes from the research project 1.A (which already integrates outcomes from research project 1.B, 1.C, 1.D, 1.E, 1.F and 1.G), 2.A, 2.B, 2.C, 2.D, 2.E and 2.F.
Deliverables D3.1: Knowledge bases developed for the design and management of UWS emphasizing also the performance criteria utilised, M34, report/paper.  D3.2: Prototype of decision support tools, M45, prototype.
ESR 2 (Research project 1.G – 36 PM)
Host partner: Universitat de Girona, Lequia research group
Recruited fellowJulian Mamo
Title: Energy optimization in membrane integrated systems for water reuse.

The research objectives are 1) to reduce energy requirements of the whole integrated membrane process (biological aeration, MBR air scour and RO/NF pumping); 2) to optimize the biological nutrient removal and the removal of emerging priority pollutants, bacterial and viral indicators; 3) to develop and validate an automatic control system for the integrated control of the filtration process and the biological process; and 4) to study sustainable treatment options for the RO concentrate treatment and sludge wasted.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP1. The work will be developed as follows. 1) Develop a control system for membranes air–scour reduction based on permeability trends and adjustment to different membrane configurations. 2) Initially for constant permeate fluxes and then adaptation to variable daily fluxes. 3) Develop a closed loop control of biological aeration based on on–line nutrient concentration within permeate. 4) Validate the integrated control system at pilot–scale and full–scale. 5) Validate E. coli, spores of sulphite reducing clostridia, somatic coliphages and F–specific bacteriophages as indicators of the removal of pathogenic bacteria and protozoa and viruses.
ESR 3 (Research project 1.E – 36 PM)
Host partner: Wagenigen University
Recruited fellow: Lara Paulo
Title: Anaerobic processes for energy conservation and biotransformation of pollutants.

The research objective is to study the microbiology of methanogenesis in order to optimize biogas formation from organic rich wastewater under conditions of metals and chlorinated compounds biotransformation.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP1. The work will be developed as follows. 1) Methanogenesis from short–chain fatty acids will be studied kinetically and the microorganisms involved will be characterized. 2) The effect of sulphate, heavy metals and chlorinated compounds on methanogenesis will be investigated. 3) Specific microorganisms with the ability to reduce sulphate, metal ions and convert chlorinated compounds will be isolated and characterized. To get insight into these processes both classical microbiological as well as advanced molecular biotechnological techniques will be employed.
Deliverables D1.8: Molecular insight of microbial communities in anaerobic bioreactors that degrade short chain fatty acids, M24, report. D1.9: Isolated microorganisms that are able to reduce sulphate, metal ions or convert chlorinated compounds in methanogenic bioreactors, M42, report.
ESR 4 (Research project 2.C – 36 PM)
Host partner: Exeter University
Recruited fellow: Fanlin Meng
Title: Catchment based and real–time based consenting.

The research objective is to explore the possibilities of catchment based consents (CBC) and real–time–based–consents (RTBC) approaches and demonstrate, optimise and rank options based on their performance on a real catchment. The research will involve the use and development of existing integrated catchment models as the evaluation framework. A thorough analysis will be carried out of emerging CBC and RTBC approaches, plus investigation of their limited use in practice. Using techniques developed at the Centre for Water Systems, new approaches will be devised and tested with the goal to derive improved performance across the various key criteria.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP2. CBCs and RTBCs are new concepts currently under consideration for improving river water quality whilst limiting costs and carbon footprint. They are an attempt to move away from fixed, end–of–pipe consents or permits to discharge and consider other more flexible, spatio–temporally responsive options. The work will be achieved through further extending pre–existing integrated catchment models as the evaluation framework. A thorough analysis will be carried out of emerging CBC and RTBC approaches, plus investigation of their limited use in practice. Existing CBCs and RTBCs will be applied to a real UK catchment and their performance evaluated against receiving water quality standards (chemical and ecological), GHG emissions and cost. Using techniques developed at the host entity, new approaches will be devised and tested with the goal to derive improved performance across the various key criteria.
Deliverables D2.1: Literature review on CBC, RTBC and its application, M18, report.  D2.4: Performance evaluation of existing and new improved approaches to integrated UWS management, M42, report.
ESR 5a (Research project 1.C – 18 PM)
Host partner: Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)
Recruited fellowEliza Kassotaki
Title: Biodegradation of micropollutants.

The research objective is to investigate biodegradation mechanisms of target micropollutants by different approaches. Despite the uncertainties on the effects of micropollutants into the environment (i.e. pharmaceuticals) and the lack of knowledge regarding their degradation, increasingly stringent discharge limits are expected. Biodegradation in a WWTP is the only real micropollutant elimination step and, therefore needs to be optimized. However, knowledge of biodegradation mechanisms and operational parameters influencing biodegradation are lacking.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP1. For dealing with the pharmaceuticals degradation through a holistic approach, it is necessary to work in close collaboration with European research community involved in the study of microbial degradation (micro–scale), but also operational conditions needed on a larger scale have to be studied (macro–scale). To study the microbial degradation processes, proteomic techniques in combination with fate studies and microbial community changes are crucial for getting insight in the overall degradation processes. The work will be developed as follows. 1) Develop and optimize the proteomics methodology. 2) Determine the fate of the target pharmaceuticals within the different compartments. 3) Identify their metabolites through batch experiments. 4) Monitor the microbial community changes with biomolecular techniques. 5) Find out the optimal operational conditions. 6) Realise several sampling campaigns in full-scale WWTPs to validate the results.
Deliverables D1.5: Estimation of biodegradation mechanisms of selected micropollutants in wastewater, M24, report.
ESR 5b (Research project 2.F – 18 PM)
Host partner: Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA)
Recruited fellow: Joana Batista
Title: Assessment and control of sewer detrimental emissions for optimal Mediterranean UWS management.

The research objective is to 1) identify the extent of sulfide emissions from characteristic Mediterranean sewers, 2) to design and apply best control strategies for the cases studied, and 3) integrate the knowledge in the tools for the management of Urban Water Systems.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP2. In the Mediterranean context, sulfide emissions from sewers are yet to be considered in the integral management of UWS. Sulfide accumulation in sewers results in profound impacts on the structural integrity of the sewer system, their surrounding environment and the downstream wastewater treatment plants. Sewers detrimental emissions have to be included in UWS for its optimal management. The proposed methodology combines extensive experimental work on field with advanced modelling and design of environmental decisions software–tools. Field works will be carried out in the Costa Brava Region, North–East of Spain, where the local water authorities have a number of installations with sulfide related problems. The study site will be selected and characterised in terms of sulfide and others relevant compounds. A combination of experimental knowledge plus advanced modelling tools will be used to design the mitigation strategy. Objective 3 will integrate all information collected in objectives 1 and 2, and provide a user–friendly tool for the water management authorities.
Deliverables D2.15: Operational strategies for control of sewer detrimental emissions provided for each case of study, M24, report.  D2.16: Module of EDDS on control of sewer detrimental emissions for optimal integrated UWS management, M24, report/paper.
ESR 6 (Research project 1.B – 36 PM)
Host partner: Ghent University
Recruited fellow: Usman Rehman
Title: Detailed modelling of GHG emission from WWTP using integrated CFD and biological models.

The research objective is to develop, calibrate and validate an integrated CFD–ASM model for predicting nitrous oxide from WWTPs and to develop compartmental model to test mitigation strategies for reduction of nitrous oxide emissions and validate in practice for several case studies.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP1. This project will in a first step integrate extended ASM models (including nitrous oxide production pathways) and CFD models (accurate spatial description of hydrodynamics and local species concentrations). This model will be calibrated using full-scale collected process data. In a second step, this model will be reduced to reduce the computational demand, still yielding more realistic model predictions compared to current state–of–the–art models. This reduced model will be validated on several case studies and used to develop mitigation strategies. Available models will be integrated (preferably from one of the SANITAS partners’ plants). Subsequently, they need to be validated, for which experimental data will be collected at one or more full–scale WWTPs. Once validated, due to the computational burden, a model reduction step will be conducted (develop a compartmental model) to allow for testing many scenarios in a reasonable time frame. The knowledge gained in this way on its turn will be used for refining the process design and control guidelines.
Deliverables D1.1: Calibrated CFD-ASM model and validated compartmental model, M36, report. D1.4: Mitigation strategies description, M42, report.
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ESR 7 (Research project 2.B.1 – 36 PM)
Host partner: Lund University
Recruited fellow: Ramesh Varma Saagi
Title: Development of a system–wide benchmark system for Urban Water Systems (UWS).

The research objective is to develop a set of benchmark simulation models (BSMs) for control strategy development and evaluation of urban water systems. The BSMs will serve as common software platform within the SANITAS project. ESRs 7, 8 and 9 will be working in parallel along two tracks, a bottom–up (BU) and a top–down (TD) approach. ESR 7 (TD) will focus on inclusion of catchment, sewer network, storm-tanks, combined sewer overflows and (receiving) water quality models into the BSMs as well as developing and testing control strategies on an UWS scale. The result will be a powerful and useful tool for the wastewater industry in Europe and open up significant new opportunities for educational purposes as well. The candidate will also undertake graduate education, by taking Ph.D. courses or in other forms.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP2. The work will focus on inclusion of sewer system and water quality models and control strategies on an UWS scale (link with WP2.A, C, E and F). The Benchmark Simulation Model no 2 (BSM2) implemented in Matlab/Simulink forms the starting point for the work. This BSM2 platform, and the influent disturbance generation model that goes with it, will be gradually extended in order to include the behaviour and impact of the sewer system and the receiving waters and how those systems interact with the treatment plant in terms of potential control actions and optimization. The resulting system will then be used for simulation–based scenario analysis aiming at finding ways to improve the operation of the UWS. Results will be compared to practical results/test results obtained. ESR7 must be coordinated with ESR8 in terms of information flow, model interfacing, etc for smooth integration of both parts.
Deliverables (selected deliverables to be reflected in B.2.2):D2.5: Sewer system model finished, M18, report.  D2.6: Receiving water model finished, M24, report. D2.7: BSM2 platform integrated with D1 and D2, M30, prototype. D2.8: Simulation–based scenario analysis aiming at improved system–wide operation, M40, report/paper.
ESR 8 (Research project 2.B.2 – 36 PM)
Host partner: Lund University
Recruited Fellow: Kimberly Solon
Title: Development of an enhanced benchmark system for Waste Water Treatment Plants (WWTPs)

The research objective is to develop a set of benchmark simulation models (BSMs) for control strategy development and evaluation of wastewater treatment systems. The BSMs will serve as a common software platform within the SANITAS project. ESRs 7, 8 and 9 will be working in parallel along two tracks, a bottom–up (BU) and a top–down (TD) approach. ESR 8 (BU) will focus on extending the existing the WWTP models by including new processes (pH, inorganic material and phosphorus removal in both activated sludge and anaerobic digestion), extended evaluation tools and novel plant–wide control strategies. The result will be a powerful and useful tool for the wastewater industry in Europe and open up significant new opportunities for educational purposes as well. The candidate will also undertake graduate education, by taking Ph.D. courses or in other forms.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP2. The work will focus on extending the existing BSM2 within the WWTP by including new processes (link with WP1.A, B, C, D, E, F and G), extended evaluation tools and novel plant–wide control strategies. The Benchmark Simulation Model no 2 (BSM2) implemented in Matlab/Simulink forms the starting point for the work. This BSM2 platform, and the influent disturbance generation model that goes with it, will be gradually extended in order to cover new processes within the WWTP, in particular processes related to reject wastewater treatment, such as Anammox and Sequential Batch Reactors. Inclusion of a plant–wide pH–model, extending the anaerobic digestion model to describe phosphorus, sulfur and other relevant variables is of primary importance. The resulting models will then be used for simulation–based scenario analysis aiming at finding ways to improve the operation of the plant. Results will be compared to practical results/test results obtained. ESR8 must be coordinated with ESR7 in terms of information flow, model interfacing, etc for smooth integration of both parts.
DeliverablesD2.9: Reject water treatment models finished, M18, report.  D2.10: ADM1 extended with phosphorus, sulfur etc, M24, report. D2.11: BSM2 platform integrated with D1 and D2, M30, prototype. D2.12: Simulation–based scenario analysis aiming at improved WWTP operation, M40, report/paper.
ESR 9 (Research project 1.A – 36 PM)
Host partner: Technical University of Denmark
Recruited fellow: Laura Snip
Title: Practical application of models in UWS: Simulation–based scenario analysis for reducing carbon footprint, nitrite production and micropollutant discharge in UWS operation.

The research objective is to develop a set of benchmark simulation models (BSMs) for control strategy development and evaluation of wastewater treatment systems. The BSMs will function as common software platform within the SANITAS project. ESR 7, 8 and 9 will be working in parallel along two tracks, a bottom–up (BU) and a top–down (TD) approach. ESR 9 (BU) will focus on: (1) extending the existing WWTP models by including new processes (occurrence, transport and fate of micropollutants, role of nitrite on nutrient removal processes and generation of CO2 and other greenhouse gases); (2) extended evaluation tools; and (3) novel plant–wide control strategies. The result will be a powerful and useful tool for the wastewater industry in Europe and will open up significant new opportunities for educational purposes as well.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP1. The Benchmark Simulation Model no 2 (BSM2) implemented in Matlab/Simulink forms the starting point for the work. This BsM2 platform, and the influent disturbance generation model that goes with it, will be gradually extended in order to cover greenhouse gas emissions (CO2 generation), micropollutant degradation and nitrite formation. The resulting models will then be used for simulation-based scenario analysis aiming at finding ways to improve the operation of the plant. Results will be compared to practical results / test results obtained.
DeliverablesD1.3: Modelling scenarios for reducing impact of UWS, M42, report.
ESR 10 (Research project 1.F – 36 PM)
Host partner: Ghent University
Recruited fellow: Celia Castro
Title: Improved modelling, design and control of granular sludge reactors in future energy–positive WWTPs.

The objective of this PhD research project is to optimize the design and control of granular sludge anammox reactors for innovative nitrogen removal from wastewater. This involves minimizing energy requirements, greenhouse gas (N2O and CO2) emissions and sludge production, while maintaining the required process efficiency at a reasonable cost. This goal will be achieved through numerical simulation, based on physical-based process models.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP1. Present WWTPs are designed to obtain a high degree of organic matter and nitrogen removal by applying long sludge retention times. This requires a lot of aeration energy and does not take advantage of the energy present in the wastewater and in the sludge. Future WWTP design is expected to be based on a high–loaded activated sludge system, where organic matter is removed and concentrated for energy formation through anaerobic digestion, followed by nitrogen removal in a granular sludge anammox reactor. The latter process requires less aeration energy and no carbon source addition in comparison to conventional techniques, while minimizing CO2 emissions and sludge production. Challenges to overcome the implementation of this process in practice include its operation at typical (low) wastewater temperatures and uncertainty about the formation of N2O, being a very strong greenhouse gas. Existing granular sludge reactor models will be extended with temperature dependencies of relevant process parameters and with mechanistic models to describe N2O formation. The resulting models will be calibrated to full–scale data and additional data to be gathered in this project and subsequently used in an optimization study. The deliverables will be a guideline (and possible patent application) for granular sludge reactor design and the selection of control strategies to meet the objectives.
DeliverablesD1.10: Guideline for granular sludge reactor design, M22, paper.  D1.11: Control strategies for granular sludge reactors, maximizing process efficiency for minimal N2O emissions, M40, paper.
ER 1 (Research project 1.D – 18 PM)
Host partner: Universitat de Girona, Lequia research group
Recruited fellow: Jose Porro
Title: Qualitative modelling in UWS.

The research objective is to develop qualitative models for risk assessment of operational problems of biological nature in UWS.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP1. There are still many operational problems of the UWS, mainly phenomena of biological nature (microbial population imbalances or inappropriate operating conditions), which cannot be predicted adequately by general and validated deterministic models due to lack of sufficient mechanistic understanding of the underlying kinetics and population dynamics. These complex UWS phenomena can be described by integrating linking numerical models and knowledge–based systems, which allow for management and active use of heuristics and qualitative knowledge related to these problems. In terms of methodology, the complex UWS operational problems to be modelled with qualitative models will be identified. Then the knowledge for the qualitative risk assessment models of UWS problems will be formalized by means of decision trees. Next, the implementation will be carried out, together with the development of a new set of specific indices. At last, the potential of these models will be demonstrated for the simulation–based evaluation of a number of different UWS control strategies and scenarios.
DeliverablesD1.2: Qualitative models for UWS, M29, prototype.
ER 2 (Research project 2.D – 24 PM)
Host partner: ACCIONA
Recruited fellow: Marina Arnaldos
Title: Integrated advanced technologies for water reuse.

The research objective is to evaluate experimentally different combinations of advanced water treatment technologies for water reuse, including MBR, RO and biofilm technologies in terms of energy requirements, fouling and effluent quality for water reclamation. The evaluation of the effluent quality will include the elimination of micropollutants in the different treatment steps and total organic carbon content. The studied technologies will be compared with conventional technologies for water reuse.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP2. The experimental work will be carried out in a semi–real scale Membrane BioReactor (MBR) pilot plant of 4m3/h located in Almuñécar (Granada, Spain). The plant consists of two lines working one with hollow fiber membrane and the other with flat sheet membrane modules. Posterior to the MBR, permeate flow is further treated with a reverse osmosis system. The work will include a comparison of experimental results with literature data in order to compare the proposed technologies with the existing classical physical–chemical reclamation techniques (combination of filtration, chlorination and UV irradiation).
DeliverablesD2.3: Final Report Comparison between integrated membrane technologies and conventional water reuse technologies, M36, report.
Fellow: ER 3 (Research project 2.A – 24 PM)
Host partner: Aquafin
Recruited fellow: Bertrand Vallet
Title: Tool development for cost effective control strategies in UWS.

Development of a phenomenological tool for the assessment of emissions from sewer systems by predicting water quality of sewer overflows in combination with existing hydraulic models. Secondly, development of a robust tool for sensitivity analysis and cost optimisation of the integrated urban water system able to derive the most cost-effective parameters of the integrated UWS model by adaptation and optimisation of the control strategies at hand for sewer system and WWTP.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP2. A sensitivity analysis will be carried out to identify the most relevant model parameters for system optimisation. Additional field measurements will contribute to model fine–tuning and validation. Finally, a tool will be designed which will allow a similar analysis for all basins in Flanders in a short time–frame. There are two tasks to be carried out. Firstly, development of a phenomenological tool for the assessment of emissions from sewer systems by predicting water quality of sewer overflows in combination with hydraulic models based on water quality calibration data from multiple measuring campaigns in the sewer. Secondly, development of a robust tool for sensitivity analysis and cost optimisation of the integrated urban water system able to derive the most cost–effective parameters of the integrated UWS model by adaptation and optimisation of the control strategies at hand for sewer system and WWTP. The here developed tools and experiences will be integrated in the work done in WP2.B thus broadening the area of application beyond the systems they have been conceived for.
DeliverablesD2.2: CSO generator: a tool for the assessment of emissions from sewer systems, M24, prototype.  D2.14: A tool based methodology for sensitivity analysis and cost optimization of the UWS, M30, report.
ER 4 (Research project 2.E – 24 PM)
Host partner: Yarqon River Authority
http://www.yarqon.miotix.com/en
Recruited fellow: Xavier Garcia
Title: Advanced research for water reuse systems and impact on receiving media.

The research objective is to examine the feasibility of successful management of comprehensive and integrated river rehabilitation, including supplying water from the river to multiple type users as part of the master plan, involving 7 municipalities, at least 5 governmental ministries, public and governmental infrastructure companies and a river authority. This research requires knowledge of diverse issues and understanding the need of bridging between disciplines, governance, legal systems and stakeholders. The researcher will study the economic and environmental costs and benefits gained from implementing theYarqon master plan, as well as future benefits from extending basin management to the entire basin.

Description of work and research methodology: the work proposed is part of the WP2. Water scarcity neccesitates efficient and effective multiple use of the resource, including effluents, to a) improve environmental and ecological aspects in receiving bodies, b) provide amenities and improve the quality of life for urban dwellers, c) facilitate multi–purpose reuse and d) maximize economic advantages. The work requires a high degree of effective coordination and efficient water reuse in a water scarce region and includes: 1) WWT must produce tertiary quality effluents as set by a multi–ministerial committee, 2) use of constructed wetlands for effluents before entering the receiving body (Yarqon River), 3) active pollution prevention steps, 4) construction of the reuse system, and 5) use of membrane technology for river water treatment before irrigation of urban parks and agriculture. To analyze the results of the project’s implementation in terms of water quality analysis (including micropollutant), institutional set–up, legal, economical and ecological aspects so that each task corresponds to a deliverable in the form of a report: i) water quality analysis of sources and receiving body regarding environmental, ecological and public health aspects; ii) analysis of organizational and legal aspects; iii) analysis of economical aspects; and iv) analysis of social benefits from SANITAS.
DeliverablesD2.13: Cost–benefit analysis for water reuses, including environmental, ecological and legal aspects, M28, report.