Estonian company to begin using biogas to power wastewater treatment

Jan. 18, 2023
AS Tallinna Vesi has signed a contract for the construction of a combined heat and power plant, which will produce electricity and heat to maximize the efficiency of a wastewater treatment plant.

Estonian water supply company AS Tallinna Vesi announced that it has signed a contract with Filter Solutions OÜ for the construction of a combined heat and power plant (CHP) on a wastewater treatment plant in the region of Paljassaare, Estonia.

The plant will help to reduce the cost of heat and electricity by using biogas generated in the wastewater treatment process.

The cost for the construction of the new CHP complex is approximately EUR 2.4 million ($2.6 million USD) and the plant is expected to be launched at the end of 2023. The contract with the Solutions OÜ also includes maintenance during the warranty period.

Biogas, which is generated in the wastewater treatment plant during the stabilization of sewage sludge, can be used to produce electricity in addition to the production of heat once the combined heat and power plant is launched.

“This is a very environment friendly way of producing energy that allows to add value to biogas that we produce ourselves as a by-product,” explained Aleksandr Timofejev, Chief Executive Officer of Tallinn Vesi.

The investments in a combined heat and power plant reduce the company’s cost of purchasing electricity for operating the plant, improve the security of the plant’s electricity supply and enable better management of the purchase of electricity. From the biogas generated from sewage sludge at the plant in Paljassaare, electricity can be generated annually in an amount that would cover the electricity needs of approximately 3,800 average households.

The combined heat and power plant consists of biogas purification and two Jenbacher gas engines. The biogas consumption capacity of the complex is up to 4.6 MW. At this biogas consumption capacity, the electricity generation capacity is 1.9 MW and the heat generation capacity is up to 2.1 MW. Both electricity and heat are fully used for the own use of the wastewater treatment pPlant at Paljassaare.

The construction of the combined heat and power plant is part of a larger project which also includes the reconstruction of digesters at the plant, which will help ensure that the energy potential of sewage sludge is maximized. After the reconstruction of digesters, approximately 3.2 MWh of biogas can be produced from sewage sludge every hour.

The plant is equipped with a buffer reservoir where 20 MWh of biogas can be stored to be used as an energy storage facility. Thus, the buffer reservoir can be compared to an electric battery with the fastest charge and discharge cycle of approximately 1 day. The buffer reservoir allows the facility to generate electricity as needed and according to the electricity prices.

Image courtesy Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ).
All images courtesy of Ecosorb.