Wastewater-to-energy projects boost the development of sustainable communities


Wastewater-to-energy projects boost the development of sustainable communities

Greentech Lead U.S: Mortenson Construction, a U.S.-based,
privately-held construction company, is handling the expansion of the Chambers
Creek Regional Wastewater Facility in Pierce County, Wash, to increase
its production of digested methane gas.

The expansion adds two anaerobic digesters (for a total
of five) and new digester gas-fueled steam boilers to heat the plant – thereby
substantially reducing the reliance on external energy sources.  The energy
produced at Chambers Creek will be used to heat the plant year round and
create 40 dry tons of fertilizer a week.

Waste-to-energy projects are integral for the development
of a sustainable economy. Wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are increasingly
recognized as community resources for electricity, fertilizer, and heat.

“We strongly believe that the transformation of
waste into energy is a huge opportunity that will transform the renewable
energy market and have a positive impact on communities,” said Jim Yowan,
vice president, Mortenson Construction.

“Wastewater is a continuous source of energy that
will only increase over time.  Many of the technologies which are needed
to transform waste to energy exist today,” Yowan added. “Now is the time
to tap into this underutilized resource.”

According to the Water Environment Research
Foundation, wastewater contains up to ten times the energy needed to treat it.

WWTPs are currently responsible for approximately
1.5-percent of total U.S. energy consumption.  For some municipalities,
this translates to 30 to 40-percent of the total electricity bill. 

Since the need for wastewater treatment will only
increase with population growth, closing the energy loop is rapidly becoming a
primary focus of many municipalities. 

Expansion of the Chambers Creek Regional Wastewater
Facility is scheduled to be complete in the spring of 2016, Mortenson
Construction said.