Australian Centre for Water
and Environmental Biotechnology

AWMC Seminar Program: Integrating Renewable Energy Sources in the Urban Wastewater Sector: Opportunities and Challenges

Presented by Alice Strazzabosco

Abstract: Wastewater treatment entails substantial energy consumption, which is predicted to increase further in the future due to population growth, global warming and tighten treatment standards. These factors along with the increase in energy price, will translate into an increase in costs for wastewater treatment. An increase in energy consumption will also increase the contribution of the wastewater sector to greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil-fuel energy usage.

These issues highlight the need for the wastewater sector to develop innovative and more efficient practices to reduce their energy use and greenhouse gas footprint while providing low-cost sewage treatment to a growing population. Several wastewater treatment plants have combined energy recovery from the wastewater with other renewable energy sources as a possible solution.

To date, research on renewable energy integration in the wastewater sector has strongly focused on energy generation from biogas. The work here presented contributes to broader the understanding of the integration of renewable energy sources besides biogas, highlighting the benefits of solar PV. The work is the first study to assess the current status of solar photovoltaic (PV) adoption across different wastewater treatment plant scales, and to identify the opportunities for solar PV in the wastewater sector. It quantifies solar PV contributions to the energy demand of the wastewater sector and improves knowledge of sector-specific factors influencing PV uptake. California was used as a case study due to its high commitment to solar power and the high data availability. The study compiled and examined data on multiple wastewater treatment plant attributes from 105 Californian plants.

AWMC hosts a free seminar every Friday from 9am.

Event Details
Date & Time: 
Friday, 17 May 2019
9am - 10am
Venue: AIBN Building 75, Level 1 Seminar Room

Event Contact: