The U.S. generates 8 million dry metric tons of sludge each year. The costs of disposing this sludge are roughly two US billion dollars annually and the EPA spends about 1/5th of their budget (1.4 US billion dollars) on wastewater management. For individual wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), ‘dewatering’ the sludge is one of the primary operating costs. This, combined with a renewed focus on conversion of biosolids to fuel, has led to new and innovative approaches to wastewater processing. Drs. Chuck Coronella and Victor Vasquez at the University of Nevada-Reno have come up with an alternative wastewater processing system named Sludge to Power (S2P) that produces electricity onsite from dried wastewater biosolids, while eliminating a waste stream of millions of tons per year per plant. The EPA estimate that 60,000 dry metric tons of sludge are produced annually in Nevada alone, which could turn this into 11 megawatts of power.
Benefits & Advantages:
- Enables renewable energy production - Less energy consumed compared with traditional drying systems - Greatly reduced footprint for overall wastewater drying process - Significant cost reduction