Aerobic Granular Sludge Technology for Wastewater Treatment

Delft University of Technology Wastewater Treatment with AGS Technology

Target Audience

Water professionals (engineers or consultants) from the industry; technologists and innovators from water authorities, municipalities and national governments; policy makers and anyone interested in gaining in-depth knowledge of AGS. The course will enhance the careers of those already in the water treatment and supply industry and the prospects of those wishing to enter it.


In this course you will learn about this innovative solution for wastewater treatment, including the functionality of and (biological) mechanisms behind the Aerobic Granular Sludge (AGS) technology. Besides learning all about the history of, the latest developments and the ins and outs of this technology from the inventors themselves, the instructors will answer your questions and help you to make a basic design of a wastewater treatment plant based on AGS technology. The course includes online video excursions to different AGS treatment plants and the experiences of operators, policy makers and innovators from water authorities using this technology. Additionally, the course offers a basic design sheet for an AGS treatment plant, and you will be able to share your questions on the discussion forum and get help in your choices from your fellow participants and the course team!

The course is delivered over a period of 9 weeks (including 2-week break), with an estimated effort of 4 – 6 hours per week, and it is accredited by The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM). Participants who successfully complete this course will earn a professional education certificate and be entitled to 35 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits as well.

You can find the introduction video HERE.


Module 1
We will introduce the background and history of aerobic granular sludge. We will compare activated sludge against bulking sludge and its relation to granules, biofilm structures and factors of granulation and granule formation. You will also learn about the AGS reactor. With the use of a video we will make an online excursion through an AGS installation and explain all the different elements and processes. Through videos, discussions and quizzes you will be able to describe the differences and similarities between activated sludge and granular sludge by the end of the module.

Module 2
You will learn to understand the nutrient removal within aerobic granular sludge and compare it to activated sludge. We will dive into the biological processes in aerobic granules and discuss basic conversions, biological phosphorus and nitrogen removal. We will also explain aerobe and anaerobe layered structures in aerobic granular sludge and the influence of redox gradient on nitrification/denitrification. Other topics to exercise your brain are the influence of oxygen, temperature and volume to surface ratio.

Module 3
This module it’s all about judging different AGS designs and it’s tough! We will cover pre- treatment and post treatment (screening, sand filters, membrane filtration), design of buffer tanks, hydraulic aspects, biological parameters, aeration, sludge processing and sludge digestion.

Module 4
During this module, we will apply the details you learned in module 3 to make deeper comparisons of batch and continuous processes. We will deal with RWF/DWF (Rain Weather Flow/Dry Weather Flow) batch scheduling. You will also learn about operational aspects of the biological COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand), phosphate and nitrogen removal during the operating cycles of an aerobic granular sludge system and the basic control strategies for optimal conversions. We will use full scale field data to explain which biological processes occur in different circumstances. At the end of this module you will be able to size your own aerobic granular sludge system with a simple modelling.

Module 5
This is what you’ve been waiting for: customize an AGS installation! We will offer online excursions to the different AGS treatment plants and share the experiences of the operators, policy makers and innovators from water authorities already using this technology, and the companies building these reactors. We will also exchange knowledge and experience with the professionals from Royal HaskoningDHV and take a closer look at your own design. And as it’s time to assess, you will write a short report about what you’ve learned in the past modules and how you can apply the knowledge to a full scale treatment plant design

Learning Objectives

By the end of this course participants will be able to:

  • explain the basics of aerobic granular sludge (AGS) technology
  • describe the differences between the activated sludge and AGS
  • explain the microbial conversions in AGS
  • calculate conversion rates of aerobic granular sludge processes and the dimensions of aerobic granular sludge reactors
  • explain and design process control strategies for AGS processes
  • decide on the advantages and disadvantages of the technology in your own situation
  • create a simple design of an AGS wastewater treatment plant

A 10% discount code is available for IWA members on IWA Connect, login to find out more.