A model-based framework for controlling activated sludge plants

Otacílio B.L. Neto*, Michela Mulas, Francesco Corona

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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This work presents a general framework for the advanced control of a common class of activated sludge plants (ASPs). Based on a dynamic model of the process and plant sensors and actuators, we design and configure a highly customisable Output Model-Predictive Controller (Output MPC) for the flexible operation of ASPs as water resource recovery facilities. The controller consists of a i) Moving-Horizon Estimator for determining the state of the process, from plant measurements, and ii) a Model-Predictive Controller for determining the optimal actions to attain high-level operational goals. The Output MPC can be configured to satisfy the technological limits of the plant equipment, as well as operational desiderata defined by plant personnel. We consider exemplary problems and show that the framework is able to control ASPs for tasks of practical relevance, ranging from wastewater treatment subject to normative limits, to the production of an effluent with varying nitrogen content, and energy recovery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150750
Number of pages16
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date15 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Activated sludge process
  • Model predictive control
  • Moving horizon estimation
  • Process control and automation
  • Wastewater treatment plant


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