Assessment of online monitoring strategies for measuring N2O emissions from full-scale wastewater treatment systems

Ricardo Marques, A. Rodriguez-Caballero, Adrian Oehmen, Maite Pijuan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Clark-Type nitrous oxide (N2O) sensors are routinely used to measure dissolved N2O concentrations in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs), but have never before been applied to assess gas-phase N2O emissions in full-scale WWTPs. In this study, a full-scale N2O gas sensor was tested and validated for online gas measurements, and assessed with respect to its linearity, temperature dependence, signal saturation and drift prior to full-scale application. The sensor was linear at the concentrations tested (0-422.3, 0-50 and 0-10 ppmv N2O) and had a linear response up to 2750 ppmv N2O. An exponential correlation between temperature and sensor signal was described and predicted using a double exponential equation while the drift did not have a significant influence on the signal. The N2O gas sensor was used for online N2O monitoring in a full-scale sequencing batch reactor (SBR) treating domestic wastewater and results were compared with those obtained by a commercial online gas analyser. Emissions were successfully described by the sensor, being even more accurate than the values given by the commercial analyser at N2O concentrations above 500 ppmv. Data from this gas N2O sensor was also used to validate two models to predict N2O emissions from dissolved N2O measurements, one based on oxygen transfer rate and the other based on superficial velocity of the gas bubble. Using the first model, predictions for N2O emissions agreed by 98.7% with the measured by the gas sensor, while 87.0% similarity was obtained with the second model. This is the first study showing a reliable estimation of gas emissions based on dissolved N2O online data in a full-scale wastewater treatment facility. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-179
Number of pages9
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016




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