The circulating fluidized bed bioreactor as a biological nutrient removal process for municipal wastewater treatment: Process modelling and costing analysis

Michael J. Nelson, George Nakhla, Jesse Zhu

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Emerging technologies for wastewater treatment face an uphill battle to be adopted in practice because no large-scale costing data exists to prove their cost competitiveness. Similar technologies and their costing data offer some insight to the approximate cost, but more detailed estimates are required for a final decision on process selection. The circulating fluidized bed bioreactor (CFBBR) is one such technology, proven at the lab and pilot and scale, but is yet to be used on a large scale. In order to demonstrate the potential economic competitiveness of the CFBBR, a method of modifying the CapdetWorks costing software by first modeling the CFBBR in the GPS-X process simulation software was employed. The modelling was used to determine the necessary changes to a moving bed bioreactor (MBBR) process (media size, density, surface area, and bed fill fraction) in CapdetWorks to simulate the CFBBR and then generate costing estimates for both capital cost (CapEx) and operation and maintenance cost (OpEx). Benchmarking the cost estimates against simulations of conventional suspended and attached growth processes and external costing data from the US EPA was performed to both validate the costing method and analyze the CFBBR's economic competitiveness. The calculation of the net present value from the CapEx and OpEx showed that the CFBBR is predicted to have 10%–30% lower costs at low flows of 1.5 and 4.6 MGD and comparative costs to conventional processes at higher flows from 10 to 30 MGD. Furthermore, the smaller land footprint of the CFBBR-based plants and lower landfilled biosolids implies that the CFBBR's environmental footprint is superior to its competitors and offers advantages for both small-sized plants and large urban plants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113604
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Volume299
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cost analysis
  • Emerging technology
  • Fluidized bed
  • Process economics
  • Wastewater treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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