Viewing wastewater systems through the narrow lens of waste processing and disposal neglects the opportunity and role wastewater systems could serve in future communities as connected water resource recovery facilities.
Wastewater treatment plants can produce clean water, recover nutrients, and function as renewable energy centres providing natural gas, heat, electricity, and biofuels. Wastewater treatment plants can also achieve energy-positive operations to reduce costs, improve system resilience and reliability, and reduce greenhouse emissions.
Future water resource recovery facilities will play an important potential element of a more renewables-based energy grid. However, implementation challenges can be significant and overall costs versus benefits depend on site-specific factors, technology, policies, and regulations. In addition, the opportunities for energy recovery shift with energy pricing, government incentives and regulations.
This presentation will discuss outcomes and case studies from recent research on:
The presentation will describe the key policies and actions that enable pathways for water/wastewater utilities to contribute to a renewable energy future, as well as anticipated outlooks driving the future of resource recovery in wastewater.
Associate Professor, Systems Engineering, Colorado State University
Dr. Steven Conrad is an Associate Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at Colorado State University. He has conducted research and consulted with the water and energy industry for over 25 years on the coupling of social and engineering sciences to inform decision making, the quantification and modelling of system function, and policies and planning as applied to urban energy and water systems, agriculture, and climate change adaptation. Dr. Conrad has degrees in Engineering, Psychology, Environmental Technology Management and Resource and Environmental Management.
Dr. Conrad is also active in industry having served on the Board of Directors for the American Water Works Association, the British Columbia Water and Waste Association and serving as chair for multiple industry committees on energy, climate change, and risk and resilience.