Framework of the energy neutrality potential of wastewater treatment plants

Towards China’s nationally determined contribution to carbon neutrality 2060, it is necessary to consider wastewater treatment plants. This type of municipal facility consumes huge amounts of energy and emits greenhouse gases to remove pollutants. The three main pathways for decarbonizing power plants include energy reduction, energy recovery and renewable energy. Energy neutrality would be at the forefront of carbon issues for the wastewater treatment plant.

Hongtao Wang and his research group at Tongji University have proposed a framework for evaluating wastewater treatment plants from an integrated perspective in the study which is published in Frontiers of environmental science and engineering. Two indicators were established on the basis of the initial variables of waste water, sludge and energy inside the factories. The first indicator is energy autonomy, which reflects the degree of compensation for energy recovery. The second is the overall water-energy efficiency, which characterizes the efficiency of the two-way conversion between water and energy in factories. On this basis, the energy neutrality potential of the power plants was defined and assessed. Hongtao says:

“The study area was the Yangtze River Economic Belt, which is an important area in China. We extracted the operational data of 970 wastewater treatment plants in this area from China Urban Drainage Yearbook 2018. There were 98 samples identified as an energy benchmark, while 112 factories could be fully energy self-sufficient.

Hongtao and his group will continue to work on the water-energy-carbon issues of wastewater treatment plants. Hongtao hopes to better predict the future trend and provide realistic optimization strategies for large-scale wastewater treatment plants. “Multi-source data collection and validation of the project will be carried out,” Hongtao said.

– This press release was provided by Higher Education Press

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