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CP490  Energy from Waste - State of the Art technology Waste

Project Appreciation and Objectives

Extracting more energy from waste and/or utilising spare capacity not in current use are key elements of Ofwat's strategy for delivering benefits to customers in terms of both efficiency and innovation. Whilst water companies are generating more energy from digester biogas, potential opportunities for extracting additional energy from the waste treatment cycle and residual waste have not been fully exploited at UK wastewater treatment works.

Treatment technologies are already in use elsewhere in the world:

  • In Germany and Japan, heat pumps recycle heat from sewers for building heating;
  • Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) have been demonstrated at pilot-scale to reduce the energy requirements of wastewater treatment;
  • In Ireland, supercritical water oxidation is in operation to produce heat for electrical power generation;
  • Prototype pyrolysis plants are used to recover oil from sewage sludge; and
  • In Spain, a large-scale EU funded demonstration project is growing algae on wastewater for oil production.

This project aims to assess the potential application of innovative energy to gain additional value from waste treatment within the Water Industry through a technical and financial assessment taking account of potential carbon value.

Business Benefits to Clients

  • Identification of opportunities for increased revenue from production of renewables to fully capitalise on the benefits of government incentives.
  • Ability to select those technologies that represent a step-change in energy generation and identify technology bottlenecks for future investment and solution planning.

Work Programme

  1. Identify the new raft of "best-fit" energy from waste technologies and current market status.
  2. Contact university groups, research facilities and technology providers to gather non-public domain information on performance characteristics and example applications.
  3. Undertake an independent pre- and post-market assessment by placing data on a comparable baseline data to establish operational 'energy generation' benefits.
  4. Assess the efficacy of market application, closeness to market and assess scientific evidence of performance claims.
  5. Benchmark operational carbon emissions, and economic viability of each energy from waste technology using WRc's Carbon Abatement Strategy Scenario Modelling Tool.

Project Output and Implementation

A state of the art analysis of energy from waste technologies applicable for wastewater treatment and sludge from wastewater treatment. The output would be used by asset strategy and planning to inform business strategies and justify investment in energy from waste technologies.

Related WRc Work

  • CP443 Carbon Abatement Strategy Scenario Modelling tool (CASSM) - Optimising Carbon Abatement, 2012.
  • Carbon Accounting and Sustainability workbooks prepared for water industry, UKWIR, 2012.
  • Proven track record in technology evaluation for the water industry.
WRc's Portfolio Programme
Summary of the £1.5 million per annum research programme

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