Optimization and Control for Bioreactors used in Wastewater Treatment

The automation of wastewater treatment plants can lead to decreased energy usage and improved effluent quality. Current technology focuses on instrumentation and displays so that human operators can make decisions on the operating point of the plant, while relying on simple computer feedback controls to guide the plant. This research program aims at developing intelligent control techniques to make decisions on the operation of the plant in a fully automatic scenario. One advantage of this approach is that the computer can calculate optimal, i.e. the most energy efficient, configuration for the plant. Another advantage is that during extreme conditions variations in the effluent quality can be minimized. Using techniques from nonlinear optimization and nonlinear control, the amount of energy usage and effluent quality will both have predictable quantities. The ``intelligent'' part of the automation will adapt to changing plant conditions, like partially clogged pipes, and to extreme operating conditions. The methods will be developed for biological nutrient removal and oxygen-activated sludge wastewater treatment plants, like those found in the newest City of Calgary plants. Specifically, the project will aim to design a control for one wastewater train in Calgary's Bonnybrook plant.

Mahsa Sadeghassadi, Yiyang Wang & Hosein Hirghasemi
Faculty Supervisor: 
Dr. Chris Macnab