Officials predict that energy costs could go up 50 percent or more over the next five to 10 years. But there is good news too! The cost and size of variable frequency drives (VFDs) has plummeted in recent years. VFDs is a device/technology that allows you to run a motor at variable speeds instead of just one speed – fast.
Today it’s more affordable than ever to cut the speeds and related energy use of your big motors by using VFDs. And more reliable monitoring systems are available to match energy use to treatment need.
- Some of the newer technologies are capturing up to 80 percent of the energy. Old technology at wastewater plants captured about 30 percent of the methane gas (energy) coming from anaerobic digesters to fuel boilers to heat the digesters. The remaining 70 percent of gas (energy) was wasted into the atmosphere via flares.
- Some wastewater plant upgrades are utilizing a process called combined heat and power. These projects reduce natural gas consumption by generating electricity that is used at the plant. The generators are fueled by the digester gas. Thermal energy (heat) is captured from the units and then used to heat the anaerobic digesters.
- Treatment components such as primary clarifiers and anaerobic digesters can be targeted to capture more energy and divert it toward biogas production and energy while reducing energy used in the treatment process by as much as 45 percent.
- Utilizing an attached growth technology in your treatment process is an energy saving method. It allows the plant to receive storm flows up to 10x the normal rate of flow without upsetting the biological processes. Major improvements can occur in existing plants while utilizing existing structures. It also provides continuous treatment during big rain events and keeps the bugs from washing out.