Climate change caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is one of the major challenges facing mankind today. Substantial reductions in GHG emissions are inevitable and essentially a shared responsibility by all sectors.

Water and wastewater systems contribute to greenhouse gas emissions through both energy consumption (indirect emissions of CO2) and emissions of fugitive gases such as nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4) (direct emissions). CH4 and N2O are two potent greenhouse gases with global warming potentials 25 and 310 times, respectively, that of CO2 on a 100-year horizon. Their contributions to total net anthropogenic radiative forcing are very significant, at 30% and 10%, respectively.

Both CH4 and N2O are trace gases in the atmosphere. They have, however, attracted much scientific attention due to their roles in the tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry. Our greenhouse gas research project focuses on the understanding and mitigation of CH4 and N2O emissions from wastewater collection and treatment systems, as well as from receiving waters.

Funding

  • ARC DP130103147
  • ARC DP120100163
  • ARC LP110201095
  • ARC LP100100325
  • ARC LP0991765
  • ARC DP0987204

Project Outcomes

The project provided the first set of comprehensive full-scale data on direct CH4 and N2O emissions from a range of wastewater systems and receiving waters in Australia.

Knowledge gaps in line with the magnitude of dissolved CH4 generation, and subsequent unaccounted loss, in low- strength anaerobic systems (e.g. rising mains, gravity sewers, lagoons) and the influencing factors and;

The uncertainty concerning the magnitude and variability of N2O emissions from biological nutrient removal (BNR) processes, under different physical configurations and process conditions were substantially addressed

Publications

Books

  • Foley, J., Yuan, Z., Keller, J., Senante, E., Chandran, K., Willis, J., Shah, A., van Loosdrecht, M. and van Voorthuizen (2011). N2O and CH4 emission from wastewater collection and treatment systems: technical report. Global Water Research Coalition, London, April, 2011. ISBN 978-90-77622-24-7.
  • Foley, J., Yuan, Z., Keller, J., Senante, E., Chandran, K., Willis, J., Shah, A., van Loosdrecht, M. and van Voorthuizen (2011). N2O and CH4 emission from wastewater collection and treatment systems: state of the science report. Global Water Research Coalition, London, April, 2011. ISBN 987-90-77622-23-0.

Journal Articles

  • Pan, Y., Ye, L., van den Akker, B., Pages, R.G., Musenze, R.S., Yuan, Z. (2016) Sludge-Drying Lagoons: a Potential Significant Methane Source in Wastewater Treatment Plants. Environ. Sci. Technol., 50 (3), 1368-1375.
  • Pan, Y., van den Akker, B., Ye, L., Ni, B.J., Watts, S., Reid, K., Yuan, Z. (2016) ­­Unravelling the spatial variation of nitrous oxide emissions from a step-feed plug-flow full scale wastewater treatment plant. Scientific Reports. In press, Accepted on 13/01/2016.
  • Liu, Y., Tugtas, A.E., Sharma, K.R., Ni, B.J., Yuan, Z. (2016) Sulfide and methane production in sewer sediments: field survey and model evaluation. Water Research. 89, 142-150.
  • Spérandio, M., Pocquet, M., Guo, L., Ni, B.J., Vanrolleghem, P.A., Yuan, Z. (2015) Evaluation of different nitrous oxide production models with four continuous long-term wastewater treatment process data series. Bioprocess and Biosystems Engineering. In press, Accepted on 21/12/2015.
  • Ni, B.J., Pan, Y., van den Akker, B., Ye, L., Yuan, Z. (2015) Full-scale modeling explaining large spatial variations of nitrous oxide fluxes in a step-feed plug-flow wastewater treatment reactor. Environmental Science and Technology. 49, 9176-9184.
  • Ni, B.J., Yuan, Z. (2015). Recent advances in mathematical modeling of nitrous oxides emissions from wastewater treatment processes. Water Research. 87, 336-346.
  • Peng, L., Ni, B.J., Ye, L., Yuan, Z. (2015) Selection of mathematical models for N2O production by ammonia oxidizing bacteria under varying dissolved oxygen and nitrite concentrations. Chemical Engineering Journal. 281, 661-668.
  • Liu, Y., Ni, B.J., Sharma, K., Yuan, Z. (2015) Methane emission from sewers. Science of the Total Environment. 524-525, 40-51.
  • Peng, L., Ni, B.J., Ye, L., Yuan, Z. (2015) N2O production by ammonia oxidizing bacteria in an enriched nitrifying sludge linearly depends on inorganic carbon concentration. Water Research. 74, 58-66.
  • Peng, L., Ni, B.J., Ye, L., Yuan, Z. (2015) The combined effect of dissolved oxygen and nitrite on N2O production by ammonia oxidizing bacteria in an enriched nitrifying sludge. Water Research. 73, 29-36.
  • Liu, Y., Ni, B.J., Ganigue, R., Werner, U., Sharma, K.R., Yuan, Z. (2015) Sulfide and methane production in sewer sediments. Water Research. 70, 350-359.
  • Pan, Y., Ni, B.J., Lu, H., Chandran, K., Richardson, D., Yuan, Z. (2015) Evaluating two concepts for the modelling of intermediates accumulation during biological denitrification in wastewater treatment. Water Research. 71, 21-31.
  • Peng, L., Ni, B.J., Erler, D., Ye, L., Yuan, Z. (2014) The effect of dissolved oxygen on N2O production by ammonia-oxidizing bacteria in an enriched nitrifying sludge. Water Research. 66, 12-21.
  • Musenze, R. S., Werner, U., Grinham, A., Udy, J., and Yuan, Z. (2014): Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from a subtropical estuary (the Brisbane River estuary, Australia). Science of the Total Environment, 472: 719-729.
  • Ni, B.J., Peng, L., Law, Y., Guo, J. and Yuan, Z. (2014): Modeling of nitrous oxide production by autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria with multiple production pathways. Environmental Science and Technology, 48: 3916-392.
  • Ye, L., Ni, B.J., Law, Y., Byers, C., Yuan, Z. (2014) A novel methodology to quantify nitrous oxide emissions from full-scale wastewater treatment systems with surface aerators. Water Research. 48, 257-268.
  • Jiang, G., Sharma, K.R. and Yuan, Z. (2013). Effects of nitrate dosing on methanogenic activity in a sulfide-producing sewer biofilm reactor. Water Research, 47(5): 1783-1792.
  • Jiang, G. and Yuan, Z. (2013). Synergistic inactivation of anaerobic wastewater biofilm by free nitrous acid and hydrogen peroxide. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 250–251, 91-98.
  • Ni, B.J., Ye, L., Law, Y., Byers, C. and Yuan, Z. (2013): Mathematical modeling of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from full-scale wastewater treatment plants. Environmental Science and Technology, 47: 7795-7803.
  • Ni, B.J., Smets, B.F., Yuan, Z. and Pellicer-Nacher, C. (2013): Model-based evaluation of the role of Anammox on nitric oxide and nitrous oxide productions in membrane aerated biofilm reactor. Journal of Membrane Science, 446: 332-340.
  • Ni, B.J. and Yuan, Z. (2013). A model-based assessment of nitric oxide and nitrous oxide production in membrane-aerated autotrophic nitrogen removal biofilm systems. Journal of Membrane Science, 428: 163-171.
  • Ni, B.J., Yuan, Z., Chandran, K., Vanrolleghem, P.A. and Murthy, S. (2013). Evaluating four mathematical models for nitrous oxide production by autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria. Biotechnology and Bioengineering, 110: 153-163.
  • Pan, Y., Ni, B.-J., Bond, P.L., Ye, L. and Yuan, Z. (2013). Electron competition among nitrogen oxides reduction during methanol-utilizing denitrification in wastewater treatment. Water Research, 47(10): 3273-3281.
  • Guo, L., Porro, J., Sharma K. R., Amerlinck, Y., Benedetti, L., Nopens, Shaw, A., I. Vanrolleghem, P. A., van Hulle S. W. H., and Yuan, Z. (2012). Towards a benchmarking tool for minimizing wastewater utility greenhouse gas footprints. Water Science and Technology, 66(11): 2483-2495.
  • Lane, J. and Lant P. (2012). Including N2O in ozone depletion models for LCA. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 17(2): 252-257. doi:10.1007/s11367-011-0362-y.
  • Law, Y., Ni, B.J., Lant, P. and Yuan, Z. (2012). N2O production rate of an enriched ammonia oxidising bacteria culture exponentially correlates to its ammonia oxidation rate. Water Research, 46: 3409-3419.
  • Law, Y., Ye, L., Pan, Y. and Yuan Z. (2012). Nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment processes. Philosophical Transaction of Royal Society, B (Biology), 367: 1265-1277.
  • Pan, Y., Ye, L., Ni, B.J. and Yuan, Z. (2012). Effect of pH on N2O reduction and accumulation during denitrification by methanol utilizing denitrifiers. Water Research, 46(15): 4832-4840.
  • Grinham, A., Dunbabin, M., Gale, G. and Udy, J. (2011). Quantification of ebullitive and diffusive methane release to atmosphere from a water storage. Atmospheric Environment, 45: 7166-7173.
  • Hu, S., Zeng, R. J., Keller, J., Lant, P. A. and Yuan, Z. (2011). Effect of nitrate and nitrite on the selection of microorganisms in the denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidation process. Environmental Microbiology Reports, 3(3): 315-319.
  • Jiang, G., Gutierrez, O., Sharma, K.R., Keller, J. and Yuan, Z. (2011). Optimization of intermittent, simultaneous dosage of nitrite and hydrochloric acid to control sulfide and methane production in sewers. Water Research, 45(18): 6163-6172.
  • Law, Y., Lant, P. and Yuan, Z. (2011). The Effect of pH on N2O Production under Aerobic Conditions in a Partial Nitritation System. Water Research, 45(18): 5934-5944.
  • Sudarjanto, G., Sharma, K. R., Gutierrez O. and Yuan, Z. (2011). A laboratory assessment of the impact of brewery wastewater discharge on sulfide and methane production in a sewer. Water Science and Technology, 64(8): 1614-1619.
  • Foley, J., De Haas, D. W., Yuan, Z. and Lant, P. (2010). Nitrous oxide generation in full-scale biological nutrient removal wastewater treatment plants. Water Research, 44(3): 831-844.
  • Jiang, G., Gutierrez, O., Sharma, K. R. and Yuan, Z. (2010). Effects of nitrite concentration and exposure time on sulfide and methane production in sewer systems. Water Research, 44(14): 4241-4251.
  • Foley, J. and Lant, P. (2009). Direct Methane and Nitrous Oxide emissions from full-scale wastewater treatment systems Australia. Water Services Association of Australia.
  • Foley, J., Yuan, Z. and Lant, P. (2009). Dissolved methane in rising main sewer systems: field measurements and simple model development for estimating greenhouse gas emissions. Water Science and Technology, 60(11): 2963-2971.
  • Foley, J. and Lant, P. (2009). Regional normalisation figures for Australia 2005/2006-inventory and characterisation data from a production perspective. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 14(3): 215-224.
  • Gutierrez, O., Park, D., Sharma, K. and Yuan, Z. (2009). Effects of long-term pH elevation on the sulfate-reducing and methanogenic activities of anaerobic sewer biofilms. Water Research, 43(9): 2549-2557.
  • Hu, S., Zeng, R., Burow, L., Lant, P., Keller, J. and Yuan, Z. (2009). Enrichment of denitrifying anaerobic methane oxidizing microorganisms. Environmental Microbiology Reports, 1(5): 377-384.
  • Zhang, L., Keller, J. and Yuan, Z. (2009). Inhibition of sulfate-reducing and methanogenic activities of anaerobic sewer biofilms by ferric iron dosing. Water Research, 43(17): 4123-4132.

Conferences

  • Grinham, A. and Dunbabin M. (2014). Herds of methane chambers grazing bubbles. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 16, EGU2014-16233, 2014. European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2014. April 27- May 2, Vienna, Austria.
  • Spérandio, M., Pocquet, M., Guo, L., Vanrolleghem, P., Ni, B.J. and Yuan, Z. (2014). Calibration of nitrous oxide production models with continuous long-term process data. The 4th IWA/WEF Wastewater Treatment Modelling Seminar (WWTmod2014). March 30 - April 2, Spa, Belgium.
  • Sturm, K., Grinham, A., Werner, U. and Yuan, Z. (2014). Tidal influence on subtropical estuarine methane emissions. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 16, EGU2014-16195, 2014. European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2014. April 27- May 2, Vienna, Austria.
  • Jiang, G., Keating, A., Corrie, S., O’halloran, K., Nguyen, L. and Yuan, Z. (2013). Development and field trials of a novel technology for sulfide and methane control in sewers. OzWater '13 - Australia’s International Water Conference & Exhibition. May 7-9, Perth, Australia.
  • Grinham, A. and Dunbabin, M. (2013). Sub-tropical freshwater storage catchments: major greenhouse gas sinks? Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 15, EGU2013-8132, 2013. European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2013. April 7-12, Vienna, Austria.
  • Musenze, R. S., Grinham, A., Werner, U., Udy, J. and Yuan, Z. (2013). Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from coastal, estuarine and freshwater systems in subtropical Australia. Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 15, EGU2013-6725, 2013. European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2013. April 7-12, Vienna, Austria.
  • Sturm, K., Grinham, A. and Yuan, Z. (2013). Subtropical freshwater storages: a major source of nitrous oxide and methane? Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 15, EGU2013-6508, 2013. European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2013. April 7-12, Vienna, Austria.
  • Law, Y., Ni, B.J., Ye, L., Byers, C., De Jong, K., Lant, P. and Yuan, Z. (2012). Monitoring and modelling nitrous oxide emissions from a full-scale wastewater treatment plant. 9th IWA Leading - Edge Conference on water and wastewater technology (LET). June 3-7, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Law, Y, Ni, B.J., Ye, L., Byers, C., de Jong, K., Lant, P. and Yuan, Z. (2012). Monitoring and modelling nitrous oxide emissions from a full-scale wastewater treatment plant. OzWater '12 - Australia’s International Water Conference & Exhibition. May 8-10, Sydney, Australia.
  • Ni, B.J., Yuan, Z., Chandran, K., Vanrolleghem, P. A. and Murthy, S. (2012). Evaluating Mathematical Models for N2O Production by Ammonia-Oxidising Bacteria: Towards a Unified Model. 3rd IWA/WEF Wastewater Treatment Modelling. February 26-28, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.
  • Pan, Y., Ye, L. and Yuan, Z. (2012). The effect of Electron competition among different steps of denitrification on N2O accumulation. IWA Nutrient Removal and Recovery 2012: Trends in NRR. September 23-25, Harbin, China.
  • Pan, Y., Ye, L. and Yuan, Z. (2012). Understanding the role of pH on N2O production during denitrification. IWA World Water Congress. September 16-21, Busan, Korea.
  • Pan, Y., Ye, L. and Yuan, Z. (2012). The Effect of H2S on N2O Accumulation during denitrification. 9th IWA Leading - Edge Conference on water and wastewater technology (LET). June 3-7, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Shi. Y., Hu, S., Lou, J., Lu, P., Keller, J. and  Yuan, Z. (2012). Dementration of nitrogen removal from wastewater by coupling anammox and methane-dependent denitrification in a membrane biofilm reactor. IWA Nutrient Removal and Recovery 2012: Trends in NRR. September 23-25, Harbin, China.
  • Yuan, Z. (2012). Nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment systems. IWA Nutrient Removal and Recovery 2012: Trends in NRR. September 23-25, Harbin, China.
  • Yuan, Z. (2012). Methane and nitrous oxide emissions from urban water cycles. 9th IWA Leading - Edge Conference on water and wastewater technology (LET). June 3-7, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Law, Y., Ni, B.J., Lant, P., and Yuan, Z. (2011). N2O production rate of an enriched ammonia oxidising bacteria culture exponentially correlates to its ammonia oxidation rate. Early Career Scientist Workshop, Nitrification Network, ICON2 conference. July 2-7, Nijmegen, Netherlands.
  • Law, Y., Lant, P. and Yuan, Z. (2011). The effect of pH on N2O production under aerobic conditions in a partial nitritation system. First International Symposium on Microbial Resource Management. June 30 - July 1, Ghent, Belgium.
  • Law, Y., Jacobsen, G., Smith, A., Yuan, Z., and Lant, P. (2011). Transformation and distribution of fossil carbon in wastewater treatment pathway, from input to discharge. UQ Engineering Postgraduate Conference. June 6, Brisbane, Australia.
  • Willis, J., Fillmore, L., Shah, A., Yuan, Z. and Sharma, K. (2011). Quantifying Methane Evolution from Sewers: Results from WERF/DeKalb Phase 2- Continuous Monitoring. 84th Annual Water Environment Federation Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC 2011). October 15-19, Los Angeles, California, USA.
  • Yuan, Z. (2011). Fugitive Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wastewater Systems. Managing Assets, Water Quality and Energy in a Carbon Constrained Future. WSAA Tech Transfer Conference. October 24-26, Sydney, Australia.
  • Yuan, Z. (2011). Nitrous oxide emissions from wastewater treatment processes. Royal Society Workshop on “Nitrous oxide, N2O, the forgotten greenhouse gas”, the Kavli Royal Society International Centre. May 23-24, Buckinghamshire, UK.
  • Hill, B., Pijuan, M., Werner, U. and Yuan, Z. (2010). Effect of free nitrous acid on nitrous oxide production by a full-scale denitrifying sludge. 7th IWA Leading-Edge Conference on Water and Wastewater Technologies (LET). June 2-5, Phoenix, USA.
  • Jiang, G., Gutierrez, O., Sharma, K. R., Keller, J. and Yuan, Z. (2010). Free nitrous acid controls sulfide and methane production in rising main sewers. The 6th International Conference on Sewer Processes and Networks (SPN6). November 7-10, Gold Coast, Australia.
  • Keller, J. and Yuan Z. (2010). Wastewater treatment and greenhouse gas emissions. 7th IWA Leading-Edge Conference on Water and Wastewater Technologies (LET). June 2-5, Phoenix, USA.
  • Sudarjanto, G., Sharma, K. R., Gutierrez, O. and Yuan, Z. (2010). A laboratory assessment of the impact of brewery wastewater discharge on sulfide and methane production in a sewer. The 6th International Conference on Sewer Processes and Networks (SPN6). November 7-10, Gold Coast, Australia.
  • Zeng, R. J., Hu, S., Keller, J., Lant, P. A. and Yuan, Z. (2009). Potential interactions between Anammox and Anaerobic Methane Utilizing Denitrification (AnMUD) processes in nitrogen and carbon cycles. 6th IWA Conference on Leading-Edge Water and Wastewater Technologies (LET). June 22-26, Singapore.

 

Project members

Professor Zhiguo Yuan

Centre Dir & ARC Laureate Fellow
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Dr Xueqin Zhang

Postdoctoral Research Fellow/Resear
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

Dr Haoran Duan

Research Fellow
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology

The steering committee consisted of the following members

  • Nathan Smith (WSAA) – Project Manager
  • Peter Donlon (WSAA)
  • Erik Ligtermoet (Melbourne Water)
  • Miles Dracup (Water Corporation)
  • Tim Kelly (SA Water)
  • Philip Woods and Fabian Sack (Sydney Water)

Other members

  • Bing-Jie Ni