Water resources recovery facilities (WRRFs) are sources of direct emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) produced by biological processes and indirect GHG emissions due to the energy consumed to operate the plant. The direct emissions also contribute to odour issues of WRRFs. Aeration of the biological tanks accounts for 50-60% of the total energy consumption of a WRRF and is therefore the major source of indirect GHG emissions.
The optimized management of oxidation processes is consequently associated with environmental and economic benefits. The innovative solution proposed in this study consists of an automated self-moving prototype (LESSDRONE) for real-time monitoring of oxygen transfer efficiency (OTE) and of GHG emissions from the aerated tanks during operation, and a protocol for converting LESSDRONE measures and specific WRRF data into actions aimed at minimizing carbon footprint (CF) and energy demand.