Thermodynamic modelling of energy recovery options from digestate at waste water treatment plants

Thermodynamic modelling of energy recovery options from digestate at waste water treatment plants

The proposed project will conduct thermodynamic modelling of the performance of thermochemical approaches to energy recovery from anaerobic digester (AD) digestate at municipal wastewater treatment (WWT) plants. These approaches include combustion, gasification and pyrolysis. This is a highly relevant subject area due to the necessity to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the municipal WWT sector. Due to storage, food safety and public perception issues with the use of sewage sludge in agriculture, there is also a need to reduce volumes of biosolids being landspread. Energy recovery and heat integration at municipal WWT plants can address these challenges. The objectives of the project are to (1) conduct reviews of AD digestate properties, energy requirements at municipal WWTs and technologies available, (2) create a physics-based model to quantify production of useful energy, valuable non-energy resources, air emissions and waste products, (3) use the model to compare thermodynamic performance of available technologies to each other and to the additional energy required for fertiliser production in order to determine the most feasible in Irish contexts, and (4) make recommendations on future research and demonstration priorities aimed at reducing energy demand and GHG emissions at municipal WWT plants. Outputs for the project are: (1) a final report to be submitted to the EPA for dissemination through the SAFER database, (2) 1 peer-reviewed journal paper in Biomass & Bioenergy or Applied Energy (both support Open Access), (3) 1 peer-reviewed international conference paper presentation, (4) all computer codes and models will be made available through the SAFER database, (5) posters at the 2015 NUIG Energy and UL-NUIG Research Day, and (6) a project website. The most suitable conferences for the presentation of this work are Energy & Water 2015 (Washington DC), and the EU Bioenergy Conference and Exhibition (Vienna).

If you want to read more about this project, you can do so at

Environmental Protection Agency 2014-RE-DS-3
Rory Monaghan

Keywords: Energy recovery; Wastewater treatmet; Anaerobic digestion; GHG; Reduce emissions

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