Using traditional modelling approaches for a MBR system to investigate alternate approaches based on system identification procedures for improved design and control of a wastewater treatment process.
The specific research work described in this thesis forms part of a much larger research project that was funded by the Technology Programme of the UK Government. This larger project considered improving the design and efficiency of membrane bioreactor (MBR) plant by using modelling, simulation and laboratory methods. This research work uses phenomenological mechanistic models based on MBR filtration and biochemical processes to measure the effectiveness of alternative behavioural models based upon input-output system identification methods. Both model types are calibrated and validated using similar plant layouts and data sets derived for this purpose. Results prove that although both approaches have their advantages, they also have specific disadvantages as well. In conclusion, the MBR plant designer and/or operator who wishes to use good quality, calibrated models to gain a better understanding of their process, should carefully consider which model type is selected based upon on what their initial modelling objectives are (e.g. using either a physically mechanistic model or an input-output behaviourial model). Each situation usually proves unique. In this regard, this research work creates a "Model Conceptualisation Procedure" for a typical MBR which can be used by future researchers as a theoretical framework which underpins any newly created model type. There has been insufficient work completed to date on using a times series input-output approach in the model development of a wastewater treatment plant, so only general conclusions can be made from this research work. However, it can be stated that this novel approach seems to be applicable for a membrane filtration model if care it taken to select appropriate input-output model structures, such as those suggested in the "Model Conceptualisation Procedure". In the case of the development of a MBR biological model, it is thought that a conventional Activated Sludge model produced by the IWA could be coupled to a input-output model structure as suggested by this report to give a hybrid model structure that may have the advantages of both model types. Further research work is needed in this area. Future work that should follow on from this research study should focus on whether these input-output models could be used for predictive control purposes, whether an integrated model could be created, and whether a benchmark could be created for the three main MBR configurations.
- PhD