EUI4: Energy Systems Integration in Large-scale Wastewater Treatment

Thermodynamic calculations show that the chemical energy in biodegradable and inert chemical oxygen demand and reduced nitrogen in municipal wastewater is approx. 2kWh per m3. Largescale Waste Water Treatment (WWT) plants can recover between 5 to 15% of this energy through anaerobic digestion. However, since other important parts of the treatment plants are energy intensive (aerobic biological oxidation requires 0.40-0.65 kWh per m3 of water), it follows that most treatment plants are net users of energy. With the advent of new and improved treatment technologies a net-energy-positive wastewater treatment plant is now considered achievable. However, a significant challenge in this area is the presence of very significant fluctuations in the energy demand from a WWT due to diurnal fluctuations in flow rates and concentrations of carbon and nitrogenous pollutants.


An integrated energy system approach provides opportunity to provide decision support on process operation strategies increase/decrease loading to follow electricity tariffs and/or short-term loading response to provide power system flexibility. Thus, there is a need for real-time data analysis and forecasting systems that will inform process control strategies. The benefits of such an approach are cost savings, improved control systems and decision support systems for planning plant upgrades as part of long-term wastewater throughput and/or tightening nutrient discharge limits.


Research Outputs

Conference  Modelling demand-side flexibilities from wastewater treatment plants in an integrated energy system
2018; 29th European Conference on Operational Research (EURO 2018) , Spain; Kirchem, D., Lynch, M., Casey, E.and  Bertsch, V. 
Conference  Market effects of industrial demand response and flexibility potential from wastewater treatment facilities
2018; 15th IEEE International Conference on the European Energy Market (EEM 2018), Poland; Kirchem, D., Lynch, M., Bertsch, V. and Casey, E.
Conference  The potential to harness demand-side flexibilities from large-scale wastewater treatment plants in an integrated energy system
2017; 1st International Conference on Energy Systems Integration, United States of America; Kirchem, D., Lynch, M., Casey, E.and  Bertsch, V. 


Professor Eoin Casey
Co-Principal Investigator, Professor, Head of UCD School of Chemicals & Bioprocess Engineering
01 716 1877
Dr Damian Flynn
Funded Investigator, Associate Professor, School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University College Dublin
01 716 1819
Dr Recep Kaan Dereli
Postdoc Researcher
Matteo Giberti
PhD Researcher
Qipeng Liu
PhD Researcher