The impact of the art-ICA control technology on the performance, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of full-scale wastewater treatment plants

Anabela Vieira, Ricardo Marques, Ricardo Raposo, Margarida Martins, Rita Alves, Pedro Povoa, Ion Irizar, Sergio Beltrán, Peter Craamer, Gorka Urchegui, Adrian Oehmen

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Advanced real time – Instrumentation, Control, and Automation (Art-ICA) controllers are an advanced control solution for biological nutrient removal wastewater treatment plants. Art-ICA has been previously shown to be capable of enhancing nutrient removal performance in BNR plants, at lower energy expenditures. However, the impact that this control solution has on the greenhouse gas emissions from full-scale wastewater treatment plants has not previously been addressed. This work addresses the effect of art-ICA on the performance, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of two full-scale WWTPs, Chelas and Castelo Branco (Portugal). The raw wastewater, nitrous oxide emissions, energy consumption and water discharges were quantified in two independent trains operated under different operational modes, conventional operation and art-ICA control. The implementation of the art-ICA strategy improved the effluent quality and reduced the operational costs, resulting in a better performance of these WWTPs. The art-ICA controllers activation led to a reduction of 54% and 7–10% of the total nitrogen effluent and in the specific energy consumption, respectively. Moreover, process control with art-ICA did not have a negative impact on the N2O emissions of the plants, and contributed to lower global warming potential by the facilities. The lower indirect carbon dioxide production due to lower energy consumption contributes to the observation that art-ICA control is environmentally preferable to conventional control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)680-687
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2019



  • Biological nutrient removal (BNR)
  • Energy savings
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) production
  • Multivariable control
  • Nitrous oxide emissions

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