טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentEran Pinkesfeld
SubjectEvaluation of Potential Renewable Energy Production in
Wastewater Treatment Plant
DepartmentDepartment of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Supervisor Professor Emeritus Galil Noah (Deceased)
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) consume massive amounts of energy in the process of treating wastewater and sludge. The energy consumption in WWTPs is a major component of the operating costs and can reach up to 40% of the total cost of the treatment. In addition, the energy consumption from the local grid increases the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere, including the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. In recent years, fossil fuel reserves have been exploited intensively worldwide. As a result, these reserves have been rapidly depleted.

Including alternative energy sources in the WWTPs, can reduce energy costs and emission of pollutants into the atmosphere, while lessening the use of perishable energy resources such as fossil fuels. 

The main objective of this study is to evaluate the worthwhileness of implementing alternative energy technology (biogas and photovoltaic panels) in WWTPs. For the purpose of meeting the research objectives, a mathematical model was built using the MATLAB software for A2O treatment process whose objective is the removal of organic compounds and nutrients.  The model allows flexibility in adjusting different scenarios and parameter which improves its reliability and creates better match to actual field conditions.


The main conclusions of this study are:

         Including alternative energy sources in wastewater treatment plants can decrease the overall energy costs and significantly reduce the amount of energy consumed from the local grid, and thus, helps to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide and to reduce the use of non-renewable resources.

         As the wastewater flow rates increased, the amount of alternative energy that can be exploited grows.

         In cases where there are no subsidies, biogas based solutions consumption is greater compared to a photovoltaic energy source. 

         There is an operational advantage in using biogas energy over photovoltaic energy, since the ability to store the gas.

         Without subsidy the use of photovoltaic energy, when biogas is available, was found to be not worthwhile.

         During summer months the energy costs are lower than any other period during the year. However, since profitability depends on the cost of Time of Use and Electricity Peak, summer months may not necessarily be the most profitable months.

         In scenarios in which the cost of a solar energy unit is lower than the cost of Time of Use and Electricity Peak, it is worthwhile to invest in a construction above treatment tanks which photovoltaic panel can be placed upon.