Water treatment plant world’s first to generate 50-percent energy surplus

Feb. 2, 2016

The new technology works by using a form of bacteria to filter polluted materials from sewage water.

AARHUS, Denmark — Jan. 20, 2016 — A water treatment plant in Denmark will become the first in the world to produce 50 percent more electricity than it uses, according to a press release.

According to the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food, the Egå Renseanlæg treatment plant near Aarhus is undergoing a total renovation to install new technology that will transform the facility into an energy producer.

“When the treatment plant at Egå is in full operation in autumn 2016, it will be producing 50 percent more electricity than it consumes. This has never been seen before,” the ministry said in a statement.

The new technology works by using a form of bacteria to filter polluted materials from sewage water, Jan Tøibner of water utility Aarhus Vand told English-language news network The Local.

“Organic material is used [by the plant] to filter waste water,” Tøibner explained in the article. “With the new form of bacteria we are using, the organic material uses much less energy in cleaning the wastewater.”

This means that the waste material can be used to create gas and electricity, while less energy is used in the purification process itself.

In a recent topping-out ceremony at the plant, Eva Kjer Hansen, the Danish Minister for Environment and Food, said in the release: “Treatment plants must move forward from being energy guzzlers to being energy producers, and we have a really good example of this here at Egå. This is an area in which Denmark can enhance and develop its position in ecotechnology.”

Denmark hopes to create up to 4,000 new jobs in the water sector, and double exports from the sector by 2025.

Aarhus Vand, meanwhile, aims to be energy-neutral and CO2-neutral by 2030 at the latest. By no later than 2016, all of the company’s water-treatment plants must be supplying green energy to the electricity and heat grids, and the plant at Egå will be supplying green energy at competitive prices, the Ministry of Environment and Food said in the release.

The facility is planned to act as a demonstration plant, showcasing the newest technological advances to Danish and foreign experts and decision makers with an interest in energy optimization and energy production.

You can find the entire release here.

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