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The feasibility and challenges of energy self-sufficient wastewater treatment plants

Robinson, Z; Gu, Y; Li, Y; Li, X; Luo, P; Wang, H; Wang, X; Wu, J

The feasibility and challenges of energy self-sufficient wastewater treatment plants Thumbnail


Y Gu

Y Li

X Li

P Luo

H Wang

X Wang

J Wu


Energy efficiency optimization is crucial for wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) because of increasing energy costs and concerns about global climate change. Energy efficiency optimization can be achieved through a combination of energy recovery from the wastewater treatment process and energy saving-related technologies. Through these two approaches energy self-sufficiency of WWTPs is achievable, and research is underway to reduce operation costs and energy consumption and to achieve carbon neutrality. In this paper, we analyze energy consumption and recovery in WWTPs and characterize the factors that influence energy use in WWTPs, including treatment techniques, treatment capacities, and regional differences. Recent advances in the optimization of energy recovery technologies and theoretical analysis models for the analysis of different technological solutions are presented. Despite some challenges in implementation, such as technological barriers and high investment costs, particularly in developing countries, this paper highlights the potential for more energy self-sufficient WWTPs to be established in the future.

Acceptance Date Feb 26, 2017
Publication Date Mar 10, 2017
Journal Applied Energy
Print ISSN 0306-2619
Publisher Elsevier
Pages 1463-1475
Keywords wastewater treatment plants, energy consumption, energy recovery, energy self-sufficiency
Publisher URL


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