Circular Economy: Tapping the Power of Wastewater

IWA Cluster for Resource Recovery from Water Resource Recovery from Water

Target Audience

Wastewater utility managers and consultants; energy recovery researchers and students; water-energy policy makers


Wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) consume large amounts of energy, estimated at between 1% and 3% of global energy output. State-of-the-art facilities consume 20-45 kWh per population equivalent (PE) connected. The target value for WWTPs in German federal states such as North Rhine Westphalia is 20-26 kWh/PE but smaller and older facilities tend to consume much more.

Consequently, research efforts are underway globally to reduce the energy consumption of wastewater treatment. More than 50% of a standard WWTP’s energy consumption occurs during the process of aerobic activated sludge treatment by aeration. An alternative technology involves untapping the intrinsic energy content of wastewater and converting this to gas, producing heat and power.

In this webinar, the current technologies for energy recovery from water and sludge will be presented, along with promising innovations. Topics to be covered include energy recovery from water through district heating and cooling, and energy recovery from sludge through anaerobic digestion and/or incineration. Finally, the future outlook on energy recovery in the water sector will be discussed.

Basic knowledge on the concepts of resource recovery and water/wastewater treatment is expected from participants.

Learning Objectives

Following this webinar, participants will:

  • Be able to identify potential sources for energy recovery from water and sludge;
  • Be in a position to initiate energy recovery projects, including finding resources for relevant information and support;
  • Be able to identify future opportunities and challenges of energy recovery in the water sector.


Presentation Slides and Q&A Report

  • To view the Presentation Slides from the webinar, please click here.
  • To view the Q&A Report from the webinar, please click here.
  • To visit the Resource Recovery from Water Cluster page on IWA Connect, please click here.


Webinar Resources

Here are some resources recommended by the webinar panelists:


International Water Association