B&V/AECOM lead WERF search to cut energy costs

A partnership including engineering companies Black & Veatch (B&V) and AECOM has been contracted by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) to research ways for wastewater utilities to reduce their energy costs.

The research follows on from completion of WERF’s Barriers to Biogas Use for Renewable Energy (OWSO11C10) report in late July 2012. Both research projects are part of the organization’s energy production and efficiency program.

The new research project – Energy Balance and Reduction Opportunities, Case Studies of Energy‑Neutral Wastewater Facilities and Triple Bottom Line (TBL) Research Planning Support (ENER1C12) – will help transfer industry knowledge and experience among utilities and provide guidance for achieving energy self-sufficiency.

B&V and AECOM will be working in partnership with the North East Biosolids & Residuals Association and Hemenway Inc to explore energy balance, reduction, recovery and production opportunities. Cosponsored by the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, the 18‑month study will include participation by 23 utility partners from the US and Australia.

The research team will identify ways for utilities to reduce demand, increase energy efficiency, recover energy and produce energy onsite by developing baseline energy flows for common wastewater treatment processes. The team will also document successes and obstacles at energy‑neutral or near‑net‑neutral facilities and identify sustainable options for managing biosolids through TBL assessment of biosolids‑to‑energy recovery processes and other biosolids management practices.

Lori Stone, biosolids global practice and technology leader for Black & Veatch, and Paul Kohl, energy program manager at the Philadelphia Water Department, will lead the team as coprincipal investigators.