Carbon footprint of aerobic biological treatment of winery wastewater.

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  • Author:  D Bolzonella  

  • Abstract:  The carbon associated with wastewater and its treatment accounts for approximately 6% of the global carbon balance. Within the wastewater treatment industry, winery wastewater has a minor contribution, although it can have a major impact on wine-producing regions. Typically, winery wastewater is treated by biological processes, such as the activated sludge process. Biomass produced during treatment is usually disposed of directly, i.e. without digestion or other anaerobic processes. We applied our previously published model for carbon-footprint calculation to the areas worldwide producing yearly more than 10(6) m(3) of wine (i.e., France, Italy, Spain, California, Argentina, Australia, China, and South Africa). Datasets on wine production from the Food and Agriculture Organisation were processed and wastewater flow rates calculated with assumptions based on our previous experience. Results show that the wine production, hence the calculated wastewater flow, is reported as fairly constant in the period 2005-2007. Nevertheless, treatment process efficiency and energy-conservation may play a significant role on the overall carbon-footprint. We performed a sensitivity analysis on the efficiency of the aeration process (alphaSOTE per unit depth, or alphaSOTE/Z) in the biological treatment operations and showed significant margin for improvement. Our results show that the carbon-footprint reduction via aeration efficiency improvement is in the range of 8.1 to 12.3%.

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