Sustainable sewage treatment plant of the future: Identifying global warming and energy optimization potentials with Life Cycle Assessment

This study presents the use of Life Cycle Assessment as a tool to quantify the environmental impacts of processes for wastewater treatment. In a case study, the sludge treatment line of a large sewage treatment plant is analysed in energy demand and the emission of greenhouse gases. Results show that the existing process is positive in energy balance (+166 MJ/PECODa) and GHG emissions (+19 kg CO2-eq/PECODa) by supplying secondary products such as electricity from biogas production and substituting fossil fuels in incineration. However, disposal routes for stabilised sludge differ considerably in their environmental impacts. In total, LCA proves to be a suitable tool to support future investment decisions with information of environmental relevance on the impact of WWTPs, but also larger urban water systems.

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