Nitrogen removal control system based on low-cost sensors

  • Universitat de València
  • From Spain
  • Responsive
  • Innovative Products and Technologies

Summary of the technology

This control system allows optimization of the activated sludge process since maintains effluent nitrogen concentration under limit values with minimum energy consumption.
The most remarkable advantages provided by this technology are:
 Cost reduction of initial investment and maintenance
 Easier operation than nutrient analysers
 Lower time response
 Lower aireation energy consumption
 Lower pumping energy consumption

Description of the tech for sale

Control systems implemented on wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) may be able not only to accomplish more rigorous effluent standards but also to minimize energy consumption associated to the process. Nowadays, control systems in WWTPs with biological nitrogen removal are mainly based on on-line nitrogen analyzers that measure ammonium and nitrate concentrations in the anoxic and oxic zones of the treatment process. This kind of instrumentation involves a significant acquisition and maintenance cost because of the complexity of necessary equipment. Furthermore, a continuous supervision from plant operators becomes necessary. Researchers from the Universitat de València and the Universitat Politècnica de València have developed a control system based on fuzzy logic for continuous WWTPs with biological nitrogen removal using low-cost sensors such as pH and ORP sensors. This control system maintains effluent nitrogen concentration under limit values with less energy than control systems based on on-line nitrogen analyzers.


The control system is composed of two independent controllers for nitrification and denitrification processes respectively: • A nitrification process controller acts over concentration of dissolved oxygen of the aerobic reactor allowing increase said concentration when necessary for ammonium removal. • A denitrification process controller acts over the internal recirculation flow from aerobic to anoxic reactor allowing increase said flow when the process has the capacity for denitrificate de nitrate from this recirculation. pH and ORP measurements give valuable information for applying fuzzy logic-based controllers. This control system let optimize the activated sludge process since maintains effluent nitrogen concentration under limit values with lower energy consumption. Moreover, with the obtained results, aeration and dumping energy consumption are optimized.

Main advantages of its use

  • This technology involves lower initial investment and lower maintenance and operational costs for the control system, by replacing commonly used ammonium and nitrate sensors with low cost sensors. Besides, low cost sensors have the additional advantage of their easy usage and lower time response.


  • The main application of the technology is in wastewater treatment plants, since it is a biological nitrogen removal control system that can be applied in WWTPs with continuous systems with either plug flow reactor or completely mixed reactors.

Related Keywords

  • Industrial Technologies
  • Physical Sciences and Exact Sciences
  • Protecting Man and Environment
  • Remote Control
  • Guidance and control
  • Engineering
  • System and transportation
  • Geothermal Energy Technology
  • Other Processes
  • Food Processing
  • Standards
  • Environment
  • Industrial Products
  • Controllers
  • Plant health
  • Geothermal Energy Market
  • Other Energy
  • Robotics
  • Engineering services
  • chemical engineering
  • WWTP
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • environment
  • Automation
  • robotics control systems
  • Pollution and Recycling Related
  • Biological nitrogen removal
  • Fuzzy logic
  • ORP / pH sensors

About Universitat de València

The University of Valencia, founded over five centuries ago by the Juries of Valencia, is a modern European public University, open to almost all branches of knowledge: social, economic and legal sciences, Basic experimental sciences, engineering and Tehcniques, health sciences, educational sciences and the humanities.
More than 41,000 undergraduate students, 4,000 postgraduate students, 2,000 students from other universities all over the world, take classes taught by more than 4,000 professors, lectures and researchers at our campuses (more than 440.000 square meters) with the support of over 1,700 administration and service staff.
Our university community is committed to being a university of reference: we are ranked 4º in Europe in receiving Erasmus students and 5ª in sending of students (Ranking Erasmus Mobility); It is fourth spanish university in research at the international level, ranking between 201 and 300, according to Shanghai Jiao Tong University Rankings.
The University of Valencia is working in a wide range of investigative fields. The results of this activity are applied in a variety of productive sectors and social areas. Information of interest for businesses and public bodies about the Scientific and Technological Capacity of the University of Valencia is made available and offered for socioeconomic transfer through its Research Results Transfer Office (OTRI).
The OTRI is a service that manages and assesses in the generation and transfer of University knowledge towards the industry, encouraging the University role as an active agent in the economic and social development; makes easier the access to the University of Valencia research facilities; manage the intellectual property of the research results produced in the University and carry out its valorisation for efficient transfer, and offers orientation of university research groups towards the needs of Business, promoting and guiding effective relationships for exchange of knowledge applied to the needs of social and industrial environment, making easier its information dissemination and transfer.

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