Washington, June 2 : Scientists have determined that wastewater sludge has the potential of becoming a new resource for alternative energy.
According to a report in ENN (Environmental News Network), wastewater treatment is coming under increasing scrutiny, with the financial cost of energy and the environment cost of energy generation driving new interest in the conversion of sewage sludge to energy.
That's also because the view of municipal sewage has shifted, from a waste to be treated and disposed of, to a resource that can be processed for recovery of energy, nutrients, and other constituents. Research has demonstrated that sewage actually contains 10 times the energy needed to treat it, and it is technically feasible to recover energy from sludge.
As renewable energy, it can be directly used for wastewater treatment, reducing the facility's dependency on conventional electricity.
The greater the quantity of energy produced by the industry, the more the industry can help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.
Using solids as a resource rather than a waste may help stressed public budgets as well. Wastewater solids must be processed prior to disposal, and solids handling accounts for as much as 30 percent of a wastewater treatment facility's costs.
According to a paper "State of the Science Report: Energy and Resource Recovery from Sludge," published by the Global Water Research Coalition, converting solids to energy is feasible and desirable, from a treatment perspective.
In that regards, the Water Environment Research Foundation developed the Life Cycle Assessment Manager for Energy Recovery (LCAMER) model to helps wastewater agencies determine the feasibility of recovering energy from anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids.