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Life Cycle Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emission Analysis for a Water Resource Recovery Facility in India

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This paper quantifies life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) in India versus water quality improvements achieved from infrastructure investments. A first such analysis is conducted using operating data for a WRRF, which employs upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors and oxidation. On-site operations energy use, process GHG emissions, and embodied energy in infrastructure were quantified. The analysis showed energy use and GHG emissions of 0.2 watt-hours (Wh) and 0.3 gram carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents per liter (gCO2e/L) wastewater treated, and 1.3 Wh and 2.1 gCO2e/gBOD removed, achieving 81% biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and 99% fecal coliform removal annually. Process emissions of WRRFs contributed 44% of life cycle GHG emissions, similar in magnitude to those from electricity (46%), whereas infrastructure contributed 10%. Average WRRF-associated GHG emissions (0.9gCO2e/L) were lower than those expected if untreated wastewater was released to the river. Investments made by WRRFs in developing world cities improve water quality and may mitigate overall GHG emissions.

Keywords: India; developing cities; energy; greenhouse gas; life cycle; upflow anaerobic sludge blanket; wastewater treatment plant; water resource recovery facility

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-07-01

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  • Water Environment Research (WER) is published monthly, including an annual Literature Review. A subscription to WER includes access to the latest content back to 1992, as well as access to fast track articles. An individual subscription is valid for 12 months from month of purchase.

    Water Environment Research� (WER�) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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