While wastewater treatment plants are the single largest consumer of electricity in a municipality, they are quite capable of producing this energy themselves. Especially if the energy efficiency of components such as pumps and motors is also improved at the same time. This is a benefit for both operating costs and the climate. But that’s not all. A recently developed analysis system can directly measure the greenhouse gases produced during wastewater treatment, such as nitrous oxide and methane. With this information and the use of artificial intelligence, the oxygen supply in the aeration basins can be controlled with pinpoint accuracy: enough to minimize direct greenhouse gas emissions, but not too much to avoid unnecessary electricity consumption. If all energy and emission reduction potentials are exploited, an energy- and climate-neutral wastewater treatment plant is no longer just a utopian dream.
Various energy efficiency approaches also exist with regard to drinking water. For example, refurbishment of pump and fan systems, retrofitting of motors, and hydraulic optimization of operations come to mind here. The financial savings associated with reduced electricity consumption can be used by local authorities, water boards and utilities to keep water prices relatively constant for their customers—despite general price increases elsewhere.