POWERSTEP – Energy from Wastewater

Full scale demonstration of energy positive sewage treatment plant concepts towards market penetration

The municipal wastewater in Europe contains a potential chemical energy of 87,500 GWh per year in its organic fraction, which is equivalent to the output of 12 large power stations. However, the individual process steps of current wastewater treatment in Europe require energy to the equivalent of more than 2 large-scale power stations. Many operators are thus targeting incremental energy efficiency towards energy neutrality, but recent studies have shown that with novel process schemes using existing technologies, sewage treatment plants could actually become a new source of renewable energy, without compromising the treatment performance.

The project PowerStep aims at demonstrating such innovative concepts in first full scale references for each essential process step in order to design energy positive wastewater treatment plants with currently available technologies.

The following processes will be demonstrated in 6 full-scale case studies located in 4 European countries:

  1. Enhanced carbon extraction (pre-filtration or bio-sorption)
  2. Innovative nitrogen removal processes (advanced control, main-stream deammonification, duckweed reactor)
  3. Power-to-gas (biogas upgrade) with smart grid approach
  4. Heat-to-power concepts (thermoelectric recovery in CHP unit, steam rankine cycle, heat storage concepts)
  5. Innovative process water treatment (nitritation, membrane ammonia stripping).

The individual technology assessments will merge into integrative activities such as treatment scheme modelling and design, global energy and heat management, carbon footprinting, integrated design options, as well as extensive dissemination activities.

PowerStep will demonstrate and realise novel concepts and design treatment schemes for wastewater treatment plants that will be net energy producers.

POWERSTEP has been finished in summer 2018.

Project partners

Financing

horizon-2020

Press and Media

  • 100 Jahre konventionelle Abwasserreinigung sind genug!» Das sagen bekannte Visionäre auf diesem Gebiet und haben recht. Denn mit den heutigen Technologien müssen Kläranlagen nicht mehr zu den grössten Stromverbrauchern einer Gemeinde gehören.
  • Powerstep – Energiegewinnung aus Abwasser

    In der chemischen Energie des Schmutzwassers steckt das Potential von 12 Großkraftwerken. Wie kann man diese Energie nutzen? Diese und andere Fragen wurden im EU-weiten Projekt "Powerstep" erforscht und umgesetzt.
  • Project POWERSTEP Underlines the Potential of the Wastewater Sector for the Energy Transition

    „Policy Brief“ skizziert Bedeutung von Kläranlagen als Energieerzeuger
  • Energy from Wastewater

    Kläranlagen reinigen unser Wasser und sie könnten in größerem Ausmaß als bisher Energie gewinnen, und zwar aus dem Abwasser. Die Technik dazu steht schon bereit. Jochen Steiner im Gespräch mit Dr. Christian Loderer, Kompetenzzentrum Wasser Berlin.
  • Zwei Kraftwerke müssen in Deutschland laufen, um die Energie für die Aufbereitung unserer Abwässer bereit zu stellen. Dabei enthält Abwasser selbst viel chemische Energie. Diese zu nutzen, ist das Prinzip von Powerstep.
  • Policy Brief: The potential of the wastewater sector in the energy transition

    A newly released Policy Brief from the EU-funded project POWERSTEP demonstrates that turning wastewater treatment plants into efficient renewable energy generators firmly complements the current goals of strengthening the European economy, coupled with securing its energy system and making a significant contribution to Europe’s international climate and sustainable development commitments.
  • Energy from Wastewater

    Untreated wastewater as energy source for the treatement process
  • Das Klärwerk der Zukunft – EU-Verbundvorhaben POWERSTEP hat neue Verfahren zur Nutzung von Abwasser als Energiequelle getestet

    POWERSTEP-Fachkonferenz am 16. und 17. Mai 2018 auf der IFAT, Messe München, Raum 5 – ICM; nach dreijähriger Forschungsarbeit und Praxisuntersuchungen unter der Leitung des Kompetenzzentrums Wasser Berlin stellt das Projekt POWERSTEP gemeinsam mit 15 europäischen Partnern aus Forschung und Industrie seine Ergebnisse vor.
  • How to generate energy from wastewater

    Newspaper article (in German) about the POWERSTEP-Seminar "Energy positive sewage treatment plants – A sustainable solution for climate protection in municipalities" on 26 October 2017.
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More information

  • POWERSTEP – policy brief

    The recently published Policy Brief of the EU project POWERSTEP explains the potential of the wastewater sector in the energy transition. The studies performed in the…

  • POWERSTEP – 2-day Final Conference at IFAT 2018 in Munic

    16 – 17 May 2018 9:00am5:00pm

    Messe München, Messegelände, 81823 München

    Over the last three years, the POWERSTEP project, bringing together 15 European partners from…

  • Interview with Dominique Ristori, Director-General of DG Energy, European Commission, on the H2020 project POWERSTEP

    The contribution of the POWERSTEP project to the EU's Energy Union goals

    The project PowerStep fully…

  • Energy Positive Sewage Treatment Plants – A Sustainable Solution for Climate Protection i...

    26 October 2017 10:00am4:00pm

    Hotel Weiße Taube, Eisenbahnstraße 1, 04720 Döbeln

    The municipal wastewater in Europe contains an available chemical energy of about 87,500 GWh per…

  • Wastewater treatment plants as power plants: Wastewater management towards energy transition? (...

    18 June 2015

  • Energy from Wastewater – Prospects and Visions for Wastewater Treatement

    21 October 2010