Wastewater Treatment US Wastewater Treatment: 4% of Plants Account for 66% of Aeration Energy Consumption

Editor: Constanze Schmitz

Blue Tech Research indentifies US aeration energy guzzlers in wastewater report. The report highlights the potential for growth in the low energy treatment technologies market worldwide.

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Paul O’Callaghan, Managing Director of Blue Tech Research: “Larger facilities represent a significant market opportunity for low energy technology implementation.”
Paul O’Callaghan, Managing Director of Blue Tech Research: “Larger facilities represent a significant market opportunity for low energy technology implementation.”
(Source: Blue Tech Research)

Mahon/Ireland — Blue Tech Research compiled a report into Low Energy Wastewater Treatment, revealing that in the US municipal wastewater treatment plants (WwTPs) market, two-thirds of the aeration energy consumption associated with conventional activated sludge (CAS) can be attributed to just 4% of the plants.

The largest WwTPs in the US - those in the 100,000 to 1 million population equivalent (PE) range — comprise just 4% of the total number of plants, but account for a large proportion of the aeration energy cost — approximately 66%. This equates to approximately US$946 million in annual electricity costs. The smaller WwTPs — those in the 100 to 100,000 PE range — make up the vast majority of works, but account for a much smaller proportion of the aeration energy consumption. They represent 96%, by number, of the total 16,000 plants, however the associated estimated electricity aeration costs is approximately US$482 million.

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Paul O’Callaghan, Managing Director of BlueTech Research says, “These larger facilities represent a significant market opportunity for low energy technology implementation. They can also potentially capture the most energy in municipal wastewater in the US for reuse.”

The report shows that there is no perfect-fit technology available to provide a low energy alternative to conventional activated sludge at the larger WwTPs, at least in the next 5-10 years. One innovative technology that shows promise is the staged anaerobic fluidised bed membrane bioreactor. This technology is currently at the pilot study stage and is unlikely to be commercially available in the next 5-10 years.

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