Cost issues on a microeconomic level and concerns about greenhouse gas emissions on a global level have become major driving forces towards a more efficient usage of energy in the wastewater treatment processes through the entire treatment plants. The goal of this project was to develop user-friendly software that would help wastewater treatment plants evaluate the energy efficiency of their entire facilities by each treatment phase used in their plants. The screening software allows for time-dependent modeling of energy consumption and recovery in existing municipal wastewater treatment plants, evaluating electrical energy saving measures, and life-cycle analyses of resource recovery scenarios.
The output is in the form of tools that plants can use to address the reasons for excessive energy consumption (based on their process and water characteristics) and a list of energy saving methodologies for each process unit. Moreover, the results of this study are a strong quantitative tool for energy modeling liquid and solids processing and their main energy-intensive components.
The use of software for energy analysis allows users to create a comprehensive database of the treatment process energy performance and equipment used in each treatment processes, and it provides a list of plant specific recommendations that will (if implemented) improve operational energy efficiency at the plant as a whole and/or by treatment process within the facility .
This project consisted of the following 3 key phases:
- Development of a comprehensive database of the performance and equipment used in the treatment processes;
- Design of a user-friendly software (in Excel and Visual Basic) to audit existing plant operation, evaluate energy savings, and conduct life-cycle analysis;
- Comparison process and equipment performance of the plant using model data vs. current plant data;
- Demonstration of the use of the software on sample treatment facilities to generate a specific sample showing recommendations for energy efficiency improvements at these plants