Wastewater as a resource

Our sustainable development goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future. When looking at today's challenges, we still have a long way to go before crossing the goal line; even though the solutions are readily available.

It is a fact that 3.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation services, such as toilets or latrines. It is also a fact that more than 80% of all wastewater resulting from human activities is discharged into rivers or the sea without any treatment or pollution removal. But...

What if waste is no longer considered waste?

30-50% of a municipality’s energy consumption is used for water- and wastewater handling. The water- and wastewater sector accounts for 8% of the global energy consumption. What if wastewater is seen as a resource instead of a problem?  What if we can turn wastewater into renewable energy, producing electricity, biogas, district heating or -cooling, and recover other valuable resources from the sludge, e.g. phosphorus?

“What if..” is no longer a relevant question. It is possible to turn wastewater into renewable energy. 

Today, the city of Aarhus has succeeded in making the whole water cycle of Marselisborg catchment area energy neutral, servicing 200,000 people with fresh clean drinking water, and turning all the wastewater from the same area into energy. The water loss, or non-revenue-water, is down to approximately 6% and the net energy production is 1.6 times of what the treatment facility is consuming itself. This has been achieved through digitalisation of the wastewater facility resulting in a much higher use of sensors, variable speed drives and advanced process control offering both energy savings and increased energy production from the household wastewater.

This vision is replicable as underlined in the IEA World Energy Outlook 2018: It is possible to change a highly energy consuming wastewater sector into a positive net energy provider.

If all of today's existing wastewater treatment plants were turned into energy producing plants, the global energy saving would be 8%, and the local municipality could save approx. 40% on the energy bill.

Today, water handling counts for 4% of the global electricity use, which equals to the entire electricity demand of Russia. We need to assure an energy neutral water cycle through society. By applying the many new, well-proven technologies at wastewater treatment plants and in water supply networks, the goal is within reach. 

AVK in tomorrow's treatment plant

AVK products are the backbone of any treatment plant. Up-time is essential, and it is not easy to ask society to stop using water for a while, or Nature to hold back rain. We make it possible to easily service and maintain the equipment, and the operator has to be able to rely on well-functioning valves that can shut off tightly. We make it possible to control the flow streams through the plant with our modulating control design of our knife gate valves, and we deliver high-quality valves and actuators where energy consumption has been a key priority. Both when it comes to Kv-value and pressure drop across the valve, but also when it comes to open, closed or modulating mode of the valve.

You can read more about how AVK has delivered solutions to wastewater treatment plants around the world in the links below.


What if waste is no longer considered waste?

What if, is no longer a relevant question….

It is possible to turn wastewater into renewable energy.


Plant renovation boosts energy production - by use of AVK knife gate valves

Newly renovated treatment plant in Egaa, Denmark, will reduce energy consumption and increase energy production based on ground-breaking technologies and by using the best possible energy optimising materials
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Want to upgrade your water management skills?

Together with Aarhus University, AVK and leading Danish water companies are equipping the world’s future water industry at a yearly Water Summer School.

Interested? Learn more about the summer school here.


Cost-effective, eco-friendly centralisation project at Danish wastewater plant

With help from AVK, Mariagerfjord wastewater plant has been able to expand its capacity, cut costs and significantly reduce their environmental impact.
See all cases
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