In speaking with industry experts, efficiency and water reuse are becoming increasingly important to industrial wastewater operators and manufacturers. This has been brought on by changes in regulations, most notably in China, where there is movement toward minimal liquid discharge to make industrial complexes healthier for the environment, and solve decades-long pollution problems from industrial wastewater discharge.
This attitude of environmental stewardship and water reuse in particular extends to facilities’ desires for self-sufficiency. It is not uncommon for municipal wastewater treatment plants to capture and reuse the methane gas from their treatment trains to power other elements of the process. Industrial wastewater applications have taken notice of that.
On page 10, Chris French writes about how a group of dairy farmers in the U.K. and Scotland generate power through anaerobic digestion plants. That power is used to fuel business processes, heat buildings and keep the lights on, with excess electricity and heat generation sent back to the national grid.
These dairy farms are not the only factilities taking advantage of power generation through digestion. An Aarhus, Denmark, wastewater plant also produced more power than it needed, which piqued the interest of engineers around the world, including in China. By producing more energy than it needs from its regular stream of wastewater, the city provided fresh, treated water to its citizenry soley from household wastewater and sewage.
It is not unlikely that large-scale industrial facilities also could take advantage of this to not only help their bottom lines, but give back to the power grid, which can benefit communities and the environment.