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From Energy Wasters to Energy Producers

Wastewater treatment plants ‘consume’ about 1% of total electricity demand across Europe. And they burden municipal and industrial operators with high operating costs. But things do not have to be that way because the chemical energy potential of the organic fraction in wastewater is an amazing 87,000 GWh, which corresponds to the energy output of 12 power plants.

Technologies such as biogas production and biogas upgrading were combined in the EU-funded ‘Powerstep’ project to develop energy-positive wastewater treatment plants. The aim was to show that the use of biomass as a renewable energy source can also optimise wastewater treatment as a whole. Of course, the basic job of any wastewater treatment plant – purification of our wastewater – still has to remain in the foreground and cannot be hindered.

Source: Competence Center Water Berlin

Results of the ‘Powerstep’ project: Theoretically, most wastewater treatment plants could at least be energy neutral (though economic considerations often oppose this). Studies have shown that the energy potential contained in domestic wastewater can be used more extensively than before with technologies that are already available today. These findings mean wastewater treatment plants can be transformed from energy wasters to energy producers.

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