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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

Distributed Energy Resource Survey
The research team for the ongoing project, “Opportunities and Barriers for Distributed Energy Resource Development at Water and Wastewater Utilities”, is conducting a survey to understand and improve integration of distributed energy into water and wastewater utilities. This project is cosponsored by the Water Research Foundation and the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation.
Energy Newsletter - January 2017
Upcoming research reports, technical sessions, and web seminars are all featured in this month's Energy newsletter.
Biofuels and Bioproducts from Wet and Gaseous Waste Streams: Challenges and Opportunities
Biofuels and Bioproducts from Wet and Gaseous Waste Streams: Challenges and Opportunities, published by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office is the first comprehensive assessment of the resource potential and technology opportunities provided by feedstocks, including wastewater treatment-derived sludge and biosolids, animal manure, food waste, inedible fats and greases, biogas, and carbon dioxide streams. The product features multiple WE&RF projects.
Anaerobic Digestion Data Collection Project
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) promotes diversion of organic materials from landfills and encourages practices like the processing of organic materials, such as food waste, by anaerobic digestion. This includes co-digestion of outside organic materials at water resource recovery facilities to generate biogas for renewable energy recovery. Learn more about their data collection activities.
Wastewater Bioenergy Project Selected by Department of Energy
A consortium led by WE&RF has been selected by the Department of Energy for award negotiations to begin Phase 1 design and planning for a pilot plant to produce clean hydrocarbon fuels at a municipal wastewater treatment facility.

Products & Tools

Assessing the Benefits and Costs of Anaerobic Digester CHP Projects In New York State (ENER7C13e)
This project presents the results of one-on-one interviews with wastewater utility staff to document factors that drive biogas energy projects forward and those that hold them back.
Extraction of Lipids from Wastewater to Produce Biofuels (U3R13)
Presents a demonstration of the technical feasibility to produce biodiesel from wastewater greases and an evaluation of the environmental and cost tradeoffs using life cycle assessment and techno-economic analysis.
A Low-Energy Wastewater Treatment Process for Producing High Quality Reuse Water-Phase 2 (Reuse-10-06)
Research performed laboratory- and pilot-scale studies to assess the feasibility of an innovative process scheme for wastewater reuse with minimal energy consumption while operating with a high removal efficiency and small footprint.
Genifuel Hydrothermal Processing Bench-Scale Technology Evaluation Project (LIFT6T14)
This study was conducted in order to determine if hydrothermal processing (HTP) technology has potential for treating wastewater solids.
TIRR1R15 Fact Sheets
Four supplemental fact sheets for the TIRR1R15 report.