Plant-wide modelling and analysis of WWTP temperature dynamics for sustainable heat recovery from wastewater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wastewater heat recovery upstream of wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) poses a risk to treatment performance, i.e. the biological processes. In order to perform a sustainability analysis, a detailed prediction of the temperature dynamics over the WWTP is needed. A comprehensive set of heat balance equations was included in a plant-wide process model and validated for the WWTP in Linköping, Sweden, to predict temperature variations over the whole year in a temperate climate. A detailed model for the excess heat generation of biological processes was developed. The annual average temperature change from influent to effluent was 0.78°C with clear seasonal variations, wherein 45% of the temperature change arose from processes other than the activated sludge unit. To address this, plant-wide energy modelling was necessary to predict in-tank temperature in the biological treatment steps. The energy processes with the largest energy gains were solar radiation and biological processes, while the largest losses were from conduction, convection, and atmospheric radiation. Tanks with large surface areas showed a significant impact on the heat balance regardless of biological processes. Simulating a 3°C lower influent temperature, the temperature in the activated sludge unit dropped by 2.8°C, which had a negative impact on nitrogen removal

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1023-1036
Number of pages14
JournalWater Science and Technology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Aug 15

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Water Treatment


  • Energy and heat balance
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Resource recovery
  • Temperature
  • Wastewater heat recovery
  • Wastewater treatment plant


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