Evaluating new processes and concepts for energy and resource recovery from municipal wastewater with life cycle assessment

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Energy and resource recovery from municipal wastewater is a pre-requisite for an efficient and sustainable water management in cities of the future. However, a sound evaluation of available processes and pathways is required to identify opportunities and short-comings of the different options and reveal synergies and potentials for optimization. For evaluating environmental impacts in a holistic view, the tool of life cycle assessment (LCA, ISO 14040/44) is suitable to characterize and quantify the direct and indirect effects of new processes and concepts. This paper gives an overview of four new processes and concepts for upgrading existing wastewater treatment plants towards energy positive and resource efficient wastewater treatment, based upon an evaluation of their environmental impacts with LCA using data from pilot and full-scale assessments of the considered processes.

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