Perspectives in Energy Use and Greenhouse Gases at Wastewater Treatment Plants

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The move towards carbon neutrality in wastewater treatment plants is commendable but the energy cost of biological treatment is sometimes exaggerated which may lead to less cost-effective carbon reduction than that which could be achieved elsewhere. Wastewater treatment should be seen as a resource for recovery of energy, nutrients and water for re-use. This paper tries to put energy use and green house gas (GHG) emissions at wastewater treatment plants in perspective by comparing outputs on a per capita basis. It is shown that the energy use for biological nutrient removal, excluding pumping and other peripherals is less than 0.1% of all energy use and that overall reduction in water consumption is much more important in terms of energy savings and reduction of GHG emissions.

Keywords: Energy; green house gasses; nutrients; resource recovery

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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