Acciona Agua leads a European project to reduce energy consumption in wastewater treatment in hot climates

The Life Celsius project, led by Acciona Agua, sets out to reduce energy consumption in wastewater treatment in regions with hot climates by 60% and facilitate the re-use of the resource. The project was selected by the European Union as part of the Life program, which supports and develops R&D+I projects with the greatest potential in the field of the environment.

Life Celsius aims to develop and test an innovative treatment system for wastewater in places with hot climates. Non-conventional treatment techniques will be used, leading to a reduction in energy consumption in comparison with the processes used at present. The energy saving will come from two sources: 1) the use of anaerobic technologies, which need a much lower oxygen intake than the level needed in the most common treatment systems (the intake takes place through forced aeration of the wastewater – representing one of the highest energy costs in the operation of any treatment plant, up to 50 % of the total cost); 2) the average temperature of wastewater in areas with hot climates means that treatment processes can be used that would otherwise require external heating, which means greater sustainability of the process.

These technologies will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with wastewater treatment by around 0.163 kg of CO2 per cubic meter of water treated.

The first phase of the project involves the design and construction of a pilot plant on the east coast of Spain, an area with an ideal climate for exploiting the potential of the new processes. The applicability of the treatments will be evaluated in this plant and operating parameters will be optimized with the aim of incorporating the technology on a full scale in the wastewater treatment plants operated by Acciona Agua in hot climate zones such as the Mediterranean basin, North Africa, the Middle East or desert areas in America.

The Life Celsius project will mean a total investment of around one million euros and its duration is three years.