Research Article

Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 1858-1869

First online:

Application of dynamic models to estimate greenhouse gas emission by wastewater treatment plants of the pulp and paper industry

  • Omid AshrafiAffiliated withDepartment of Building, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Concordia University
  • , Laleh YerushalmiAffiliated withDepartment of Building, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Concordia University
  • , Fariborz HaghighatAffiliated withDepartment of Building, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Concordia University Email author 

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Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in wastewater treatment plants of the pulp-and-paper industry was estimated by using a dynamic mathematical model. Significant variations were shown in the magnitude of GHG generation in response to variations in operating parameters, demonstrating the limited capacity of steady-state models in predicting the time-dependent emissions of these harmful gases. The examined treatment systems used aerobic, anaerobic, and hybrid—anaerobic/aerobic—biological processes along with chemical coagulation/flocculation, anaerobic digester, nitrification and denitrification processes, and biogas recovery. The pertinent operating parameters included the influent substrate concentration, influent flow rate, and temperature. Although the average predictions by the dynamic model were only 10 % different from those of steady-state model during 140 days of operation of the examined systems, the daily variations of GHG emissions were different up to ±30, ±19, and ±17 % in the aerobic, anaerobic, and hybrid systems, respectively. The variations of process variables caused fluctuations in energy generation from biogas recovery by ±16, ±17, and ±14 % in the three examined systems, respectively. The lowest variations were observed in the hybrid system, showing the stability of this particular process design.


Greenhouse gas Dynamic model Wastewater treatment plants Impact of process parameters Energy generation