Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

H2020

ENERWATER Report Summary

Project ID: 649819
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.3.7.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ENERWATER (Standard method and online tool for assessing and improving the energy efficiency of wastewater treatment plants)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

ENERWATER: Standard method and online tool for assessing and improving the energy efficiency of wastewater treatment plants is a 36 months Coordination and support actions project running under H2020, addressing the topic “Energy efficiency at wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs)”.
The main objective of ENERWATER is to develop, validate and to disseminate an innovative standard methodology for continuously assessing, labelling and improving the overall energy performance of Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTPs). For that purpose, a collaboration framework in the water treatment sector including research groups, SMEs, water management companies, city councils, water authorities and industry has been set up. ENERWATER is devoting important efforts to ensure that the methods are widely adopted. Subsequent objectives are to impulse dialogue towards the creation of a specific European legislation following the example of recently approved EU directives, to establish a way forward to achieve EU energy reductions objectives for 2020, ensuring effluent water quality, environmental protection and compliance with the Water Framework Directive (FWD).
The ENERWATER consortium includes the following partners: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela (USC) (Coordinator), Spanish Association for Standardization and Certification (AENOR) (Exploitation Manager), Wellness Smart Cities (WSC) (Dissemination Manager), Cranfield University (CU), University of Verona (UNIVR), Cologne University of Applied Science (CUAS), Energia Territorio Risorse Ambientali S.p.A. (ETRA), Aggerverband (AV) and Espina y Delfin (EyD).

ENERWATER tackles the challenge of improving energy efficiency in wastewater treatment plants with an integrated approach:
- Defining appropriate indicators of energy efficiency in wastewater treatment plants;
- Developing a standard method for measurement of energy efficiency in WWTPs, facilitating benchmarking among plants and/or at different time periods as well as effective communication;
- Demonstrating the monitoring of energy efficiency of WWTPs by installing energy loggers in 50 plants in Spain, Italy and Germany;
- Providing data treatment tools that can be used for diagnosis of the operational factors impacting energy efficiency.

The main aim of ENERWATER is the development of a systematic methodology for evaluation and improvement of energy performance in WWTPs operation. To achieve this overall objective it is necessary to meet the following specific objectives:
• O1: To carry out a thorough study on the current energy status of existing WWTPs and to identify best case scenarios, best practices & best available technologies;
• O2: To establish energy consumption benchmarks and record them in a publicly available database;
• O3: To define and validate a standard methodology for energy assessment and classification.
• O4: To develop and validate an online web application that automatizes the methodology, facilitating the process of energy diagnosis of a WWTP;
• O5: To foster the discussion and dialogue among member states, the water- energy sector and other stakeholders;
• O6: To address the main issues present for the creation of an EU directive;
• O7: To disseminate the methodology for a faster replication and market acceptance. Proposal and contribution to new European standardisation works;
• O8: To assess the impact on the society, economy and environment.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

First activity of ENERWATER was the development of the Project Management Manual (WP1), which is intended to be a manual for guiding the Consortium in the general management tasks of the project. During the first year of the project the mains activities have been devoted mainly to the preparatory actions related to the development of the ENERWATER methodology. An energy audit requires a clearly stated and accepted methodology beyond common knowledge. Therefore, one of the goals of WP2 was to establish generally accepted principles and good practices that must be included in a standard energy performance auditing. WP2 was also in charge of the selection of the pilot plants where the energy monitoring system has to be installed and where the ENERWATER methodology is eventually tested and validated. To facilitate the impact of the ENERWATER methodology, WP2 also took charge of the construction of a public available benchmark database. Starting from information collected in WP2, WP3 aims at the development of the ENERWATER methodology. The work carried out in WP4 aims at the validation of the ENERWATER methodology at pilot WWTPs located in Italy, Spain and Germany, as well the training of auditors on the methodology tested. WP5 focus on the construction of the necessary networking structure to achieve the maximum consensus on the ENERWATER methodology and the study of the standardization landscape. Finally WP6 deals with the activities related to the dissemination of the project results to stakeholders, including scientific community, industry, policy makers and society.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

ENERWATER contribution beyond the state of the art is tackle this diversity by creating a method that can be used for different WWTPs, while providing data analysis tools that can assist in the diagnosis of energy efficiency in WWTPs. Likewise, for smaller utilities who do not necessarily possess the skills to carry out an energy audit, ENERWATER provides online web application that automatizes the methodology, facilitating the process of energy diagnosis of a WWTP. The socio-economic impact of increasing the energy efficiency of WWTP is clear. Electricity accounts for 5%-30% of the operating costs of wastewater treatment, which are directly reflected into water bills. Decreasing the operating expenses can be used to provide a lower water bill for consumers in risk of exclusion. Or in areas with water scarcity, it is possible to use a larger share of water bill income to promote water responsible technologies. Furthermore, wastewater treatment is most often delivered by public-private partnership, or private service contracts approved by a public local authority. In a larger perspective, it is critical to reduce energy demand and moderate energy prices, and bring lower energy bills for both consumers and industries. Consequently, it will enhance competitiveness of EU industries and the economy as a whole. Saving energy can help reduce our dependency on foreign fossil fuels, and avoid costly investments in new energy infrastructures. On top, it is a highly cost-effective option to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Programs designed to lead to reductions in wastewater treatment operating costs can thus become an attractive proposition for both utilities and their municipal owners, potentially creating fiscal space to grapple with other socioeconomic priorities while also lessening the upward pressure on water and wastewater tariffs.
To be able to carry out the above activities effectively and efficiently, WWTPs need to adopt a structured approach in energy management. Following the release of the ENERWATER method, municipalities and state members will be able to include energy considerations in a standardized manner in the required public procurement project. Also ENERWATER addresses the need for clear definitions of water-sector boundaries and greater standardization of approaches to profiling energy use. Thus, ENERWATER have the potential to bring long-term social, economic and environmental benefits to Europe.

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