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EU’s wastewater treatment plants to produce energy based on Danish methods

By State of Green, 13 Apr 2018

Danish sewage treatment plants deliver electricity to consumers, and reduce production costs, expenses for water consumers and CO2 emission. The European Union are now to adapt this model.

According to the EU, the energy used for total operation of wastewater treatment plants in the member states corresponds to two power plants. If you instead utilise and control the energy from the European wastewater treatment plants, the gain would be the amount of electricity corresponding to the production of twelve large power plants.

The EU focuses on climate, energy and circular economy. To support that vision The European Union’s water sector established the program PowerStep. The intention is, to transform European treatment plants into developers of green energy for the benefit of the European economy and climate. The purpose of PowerStep aligns beautifully with the development we have witnessed in Denmark over the past few years.

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In cooperation with the Danish Water Industry, DANVA initiated ‘Water vision 2025’, which involves taking quantum leaps in the development of water technology solutions. The design, which divides the development-cooperation-roles between the joint water businesses, the private manufacturers and private advisors is one of a kind and have existed for three years. It led to the development of unique water solutions, which allows the local water utilities to be more efficient and provides the private operators with an opportunity to prepare systems to enter foreign markets. The export of water technology has been significant since the initiation of the formal cooperation involving the industry’s water vision.

– I am thrilled that the Danish water sector is so advanced. The entire world, EU and Denmark attempt to solve the problem by balancing the consumption of energy during the production. In Denmark, the wastewater treatment utilities optimise and control the energy production in a unique way. In some areas of the country, the treatment plants are energy neutral, while other areas deliver large amounts of electricity to the consumers all year, says Carl Emil Larsen from DANVA

Denmark takes part in PowerStep’s realisation of the EU targets and contributes with knowhow on controlling the complicated processes, which besides from producing energy, ensures the reduction of greenhouse gasses. In Europe, six large wastewater treatment operators take part in the program, one of them is Biofos’ plant in Avedøre. In 2016, Biofos sold 35,000 MWh more energy than the purchased amount, which corresponds to the annual electricity consumption of 8,800 families.

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PowerStep’s goal is that the treatment plants, like the ones in Denmark, become energy neutral or even energy producers. In addition, PowerStep supports the opportunity to exploit surplus heat.

When the evaluation of PowerStep is released in three months, it could become an excellent opportunity for the advisors, manufacturers and suppliers of the Danish Water Industry to assist fellow EU member states in the optimisation of energy processes in their treatment plants.

– Source: Energy Supply, DANVA

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