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Research Area: Energy

Our Objective

Energy self sufficiency for wastewater treatment plants. This would be pursued as two parallel energy-related research efforts. One for reduction in plant energy demand through lower-energy alternatives to secondary treatment, i.e., activated sludge. The second research effort will examine the capture of energy from wastewater to support plant operations, and ultimately the financial benefits from its export.

The research builds on the work done under the completed Operations Optimization Challenge, for which the goal was to achieve 20 percent improvement in cost and/or energy consumption. Get the related fact sheet.


Latest News

Research to Reduce Cost, Energy Use, and Carbon Footprint in Wastewater Treatment
The Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (now known as The Water Research Foundation) was recently awarded a contract to the University of Michigan to begin Next Generation Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor Development Utilizing 3D-Printing (U2R15).
Pentair Awards Grant to Water Enviornment & Reuse Foundation to Advance Biogas Research
WE&RF recently received a grant of $100,000 by the Pentair Foundation for research characterizing the quality of biogas derived from wastewater solids, co-digested organic wastes, and other digestion enhancements.
BioCycle Releases 2017 State of Organics Recycling in the U.S.
BioCycle has released their estimate of the number of WRRFs doing codigestion in the U.S. as part of their 2017 State of Organics Recycling report.
WE&RF Awards Research Contract to Develop Alternative Sustainable Business Cases for Co-Digestion
WE&RF recently awarded a contract to the Environmental Law Institute to begin Food Waste Co-Digestion at Wastewater Resource Recovery Facilities: Business Case Analysis (ENER19C17).
Gresham is a Net Zero Hero
WE&RF subscriber, City of Gresham, OR is producing more energy than needed to operate their wastewater facility. View their video "Net Zero Hero" to learn more.

Products & Tools

Manure Resource Recovery Co-Digestion with Fats, Oil, and Grease (STAR_N3R14a)
Research investigates the ability to increase biomethane production in co-digestion of manure waste with the addition of a long chain fatty acid (LCFA) in laboratory digesters.
Lessons Learned: Developing Solutions to Operational Side Effects Associated with Co-Digestion of High Strength Organic Wastes (ENER8R13)
Presents research collected from over 40 facilities that have implemented or have considered implementing co-digestion.
Public-Private Partnership Opportunities for Water and Water Resource Recovery Utility Energy Projects (ENER18C15)
The objective of this project was to develop a Best Practices Guide to help water and wastewater utilities undertake energy projects through public-private partnerships.
Understanding Impacts of Co-Digestion: Digester Chemistry, Gas Production, Dewaterability, Solids Production, Cake Quality, and Economics (ENER12R13)
Research examined many of the possible side effects of co-waste addition, and how changes in the type of high strength waste co-waste added to an anaerobic digester altered the outcome.
Co-Digestion of Organic Waste Addressing Operational Side Effects (ENER9C13)
Study evaluates side effects associated with co-digestion of high-strength waste and wastewater solids at water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs).