Comparison of energy consumption and carbon footprint of wastewater treatment systems through modeling

Thesis Type: Postgraduate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Thesis Language: English

Student: BORA OKAN

Principal Consultant (For Co-Consultant Theses): Ayşegül Aksoy

Co-Consultant: Tuba Hande Bayramoğlu


With increasing population and developing regulations, wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) have started to become a higher energy consuming sector in order to serve higher capacities. In the design and management phases of a treatment plant, energy consumption and carbon footprint of the plant should be considered. In this regard, hypothetical and real case models are created to simulate and compare WWTP systems. In this thesis study, first, municipal WWTPs of Turkey were analyzed to determine the traditional technologies concerning biological treatment and sludge stabilization of municipal wastewaters. Combinations of different units and processes were used to build 105 hypothetical WWTP models. These models were then used to determine sludge production amount, energy consumption, and carbon footprint. It was observed that specific energy consumption ranged between 0.002 kWh/m3 and 0.89 kWh/m3, while, carbon footprints varied between 588 kgCO2eq/h and 5,697 kgCO2eq/h. In addition, Bursa East Domestic WWTP was considered for the simulation-based optimization of a real WWTP. It was shown that both energy consumption and carbon footprint of this treatment plant can be reduced by 10%.