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Meet us at Aquatech, stand no. 07.336A

Results from a collaborative N2O monitoring campaign

To warm up to Aquatech 2023, we would like to share this recent article with you. On 21 August, Aarhus Vand published the results of a collaborative effort between wastewater treatment plants in Denmark (Aarhus Vand), Australia (Melbourne Water), and the UK (Severn Trent) to monitor nitrous oxide (N₂O) emissions for one year.

The Net Zero Partnership

Aarhus Vand, Melbourne Water, and Severn Trent in the UK have formed an international alliance called the Net Zero Partnership with the aim of collectively reducing carbon emissions by one million tons annually. They recognize that a substantial portion of these emissions comes from the activated sludge process used in wastewater treatment.

Below we share the key points from this article.

If you want to discuss nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment, get in touch, either online or at Aquatech, stand no. 07.336A.


One minute introduction to the N2O Wastewater System

Nitrous Oxide as a Greenhouse Gas
Nitrous oxide is nearly 300 times more harmful than carbon dioxide (CO2) in terms of its greenhouse gas potential, making it a significant contributor to global warming.
Monitoring Nitrous Oxide
The three wastewater treatment plants monitored N2O emissions in both the gas and liquid phases for one year. The measurements were taken online and recorded every minute. The goal was to understand variations in emissions and identify strategies to reduce them.
Causes of N2O Emissions
Nitrous oxide emissions occur when there is a high nitrogen load in wastewater, which stresses microbiological processes and leads to nitrous oxide formation. New control strategies for the activated sludge process can help reduce these emissions.
Seasonal Variations
One surprising result was the seasonal variation in nitrous oxide emissions, with peaks occurring during the spring in all three countries. Researchers are exploring hypotheses, including the impact of rising temperatures on microbial composition, as a potential cause for this variation.
Emission Factors
The study found that the daily emission factors for nitrous oxide were approximately 1.5% N2O/TN in all three countries, aligning closely with the IPCC emission factor of 1.6% N2O/TN on average. However, national emission factor guidelines in Denmark, the UK, and Australia are lower.
Standardization Needed
The article emphasizes the need for standardized methods to measure, calculate, and report nitrous oxide emissions. Establishing common methodologies for calculating emission factors is essential to ensure accurate reporting of emissions.

You can find the full article at Aarhus Vand’s website:
Nitrous oxide levels monitored for one year at wastewater treatment plants in Europe and Australia

If you want to discuss nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment, get in touch, either online or at WEFTEC, stand no. 8327.

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