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Dragan Lazi

Hamburg, December 2012.

In most European countries in the last 30-40 years there has been a great amount of wastewater treatment plants built. Most legislations made laws that all municipal wastewaters need to be treated, while making the effluent limits lower and lower. What is not often discussed regarding the conventional wastewater treatment plants is the energy use. While most people greet the building of more and more intense wastewater treatment facilities, almost no one asks himself about the energy use of such plants. The concept of conventional wastewater treatment plants always varies depending on the context that is observed. Of course treating water is always better than just releasing it in rivers. The wastewater treatment plants in Europe only recently started a trend in energy recovery that can be obtained from organic streams occurring in wastewater treatment plants. At the same time new concepts for wastewater treatment systems appear. The new trend in wastewater technologies is building independent, decentralized systems. These systems have many good sides, at least at a first glance. They dont need long transport lines, and also they can produce energy and use it on spot, or feed it in to the gas or electricity grid in a decentralized way. During the last few years, environmental LCA also called "cradle to grave" was often used to assess different products, but also processes. This analysis recognises all product life cycle stages and evaluates them. Some variant of this analysis is also the "mass and energy flow analysis". The author of this paper has determined to use such analysis to compare two different processes of wastewater treatment plants. The mass and energy flows of "conventional" wastewater treatment plant (acronym WWTP) is compared on one side, and the mass and energy flows of a new concept, decentralized treatment system in Jenfelder Au is compared on the other side. They will be compared so it could be shown whether the new system provides energy savings, and a good positive energy balance by feeding in biogas and/or electricity into the grid, or for its own use. The analysis about the energy use will show the energy consumption and gain per wastewater generated per capita and per day.


In this chapter, there will be an overview of systems used in Hamburg, so both the centralized WWTP with sludge treatment, and the Hamburg Water Cycle system utilized in Jenfelder Au will be shown and explained.

2.1 Centralized wastewater and sludge treatment in Hamburg

Before continuing, it is worth explaining some basics of water effluents occurring in a urban community. Basically waters occurring in a city are residential wastewater (which consists of greywater and blackwater) as well as rainwater (also known as stormwater). The industrial wastewaters are generally treated within the industrial plants, and are not mixed with communal wastewater. Rainwater is a part of the natural water cycle, and in its natural form, rainwater is generally clean and uncontaminated. However, once the precipitation flows over urban surfaces, impurities and contaminants are introduced into the water. The contamination level present is largely dependent on how contaminated the surface is on which the water falls. The runoff from lawns and rural areas is generally less polluted and cleaner. In cities however, the condition of water is much worse due to the city traffic. Polluted city conditions, in places such as Hamburg, lead to a more polluted runoff, in addition to an increase in the material inflow and the hydraulic load. Greywater is defined as any form of wastewater which is produced in the household from every source but the toilet. For example, greywater comes from the used water in the kitchen (dishwasher, sink), bathroom (sink, tub, shower) or from doing the laundry (washing machine). Greywater has the advantage that it contains little organic matter, and that, in comparison to blackwater, is only slightly contaminated. While it is low in nutrients, it also has only minimal bacterial concentrations and relatively small amounts of drug residues. Greywater is much easier to clean than ordinary sewage because its properties allow a much simpler, gentler and less energy-intensive cleaning process. Blackwater is the wastewater from toilets.. Blackwater contains urine and feces (excreta) which is combined with flush water and toilet paper and fed into the sewer system. After flushing the blackwater into the municipal sewer system, it is transported to a facility in which treatment and recovery takes place. The daily amount of blackwater produced depends on your type of toilet. Although a person generates only 1.5 liters of waste on average per day, this amount increases to 25 to 50 liters per day with the additional quantity of flush water which varies dependent on the flushing system. In a city like Hamburg residential wastewater as well as rainwater is being collected together and being led into the citys wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater treatment in Hamburg is done by a city company Hamburg Wasser. It is done in two sites,

Khlbrandhft and Dradenau. They are interlinked and they represent one whole system. The overview of the system can be shown on the picture 1.


Belebungsbecken C- und N- eliminierung

Nachklarbecken P- eliminierung








Energie Schlamm H2O


Anaerob. Faulung



*KETA = Klrschlam- entwsserungs- und Trocknungsanlage *VERA = Verwertungsanlage fr Rckstnde aus der Abwasserbehandlung

Figure 1. Hamburg's centralised WWTP The influent is first going to a primary filter. There all solid fractions of the wastewater of the size more than 10 cm are retained. Because of the nature of the filtration process, some smaller fractions are also retained. After this step, the wastewater goes to a sand trap. Here the sand, and heavier, denser fractions will sediment, along with the organic flocules that are bonded to the sand. After this step, there will be a grease trap, which removes and skims all the lighter density fractions, mainly of organic origin. After this step the wastewater almost has no solid fractions, and the color is relatively clear. After this step the water is being split up, and a portion of it is going to Dradenau plant. This is due to the volumes of wastewater being treated, and the old plant couldnt handle the increasing volumes. After the splitting of the flows, the wastewater goes to aeration pools, for elimination of the organic carbon and nitrogen compounds. In these pools there is intense aeration of the wastewater, which creates a big mass of secondary, organic sludge. This sludge is then sedimented in the secondary sedimentation tanks. A portion of the secondary sludge is being recirculated in order to

keep the living biomass active in consuming organic matter in the wastewater aeration tanks. The excess sludge is being taken away for later thickening. After the secondary sedimentation the water is emitted in the recepient river. The sludge that is separated and generated in both units of the plants is being brought into the centrifuge for thickening. Then it is brought into anaerobic fermentation tanks. There, biogas is generated, which is later washed out of CO2 and being introduced in the existing natural gas network. The sludge liquor is being recirculated in the process. After that, the digestated mass is being transported to KETA, which is an unit for dewatering and drying (Klrschlamm Entwsserungs- und Trocknungsanlage). Which is a multi-step process. First the sludge is dewatered to about 70% water, and then it is dried using waste heat to dry it out to about 30-40% water. The water occurring here is being released to to the effluent. After this the dry sludge is being combusted in VERA, which is a unit for thermal utilization of the remains of the wastewater treatment process. This unit produces electricity and process heat by combusting the remains, mainly dry secondary sludge.The combustion takes place in a fluidised bed combustor, which is the least impacting method of combustion. This electricity is being fed into the grid, and the waste heat is used in the process of drying the sludge, as well as heating up the anaerobic fermentation tanks. The combustion gases are being extensively treated, through a electrostatic precipitator, flue gas desulphurization unit, etc. The ashes that occurr are stored in a ash landfill.

2.2 The system being applied in Jenfelder Au complex - Hamburg Water Cycle
The Jenfelder Au quarter, a new residential area in the Wandsbek district, is being built on the former site of the Lettow-Vorbeck military barracks. In Jenfelder Au the Hamburg Water Cycle will be implemented in all of the newly constructed housing units. The neighborhood, which also incorporates other efficient approaches for energy production, comes very close to fully fulfilling the vision of a neighborhood with a completely selfsufficient energy supply for its approximately 2000 future residents. Additionally, the space-efficient development plan ensures affordable access to townhouses with gardens in Jenfeld. The HAMBURG WATER Cycle (HWC) concept provides a holistic approach to both the energy supply and sanitation needs in urban areas. In this approach, the complimentary areas of water and energy infrastructure become interdependent, simultaneously

protecting water resources and utilizing wastewater to produce energy. Thus, it is possible to close the material cycles directly in the residential environment. The most critical component of the HWC is the separate treatment of the different wastewater streams, the so-called partial flow treatment. Stormwater, wastewater from the toilet (blackwater), and wastewater from the kitchen and bathroom (graywater) are separately collected and then separately treated. The overall objective of this new drainage and sewer system concept is not only intended to increase the drainage capacity, but also to increase the water utilization. The utilization of the wastewater is therefore adapted to the specific properties of black-, grey- and rain- water to achieve results which are the most efficient and ecological. The high concentration of organic substances in blackwater makes it ideal for the production of biogas through fermentation. Through the addition of other sources of biomass to the blackwater, energy can be generated in the form of heat and electricity instead of energy being consumed as in the standard, energy-intensive wastewater treatment. After the anaerobic treatment of this material, this material can then be further utilized to improve the soil quality or to create fertilizer. When greywater is not combined with blackwater, it can be cleaned easily with minimal energy requirements and then can be used as process water or returned back to the environment. The HAMBURG WATER Cycle stormwater management provides that the water is managed naturally and locally. The seepage of the rainwater is facilitated by the soil and vegetation which work to speed up the evaporation and absorption of the water. Additionally, the water can be incorporated as a design element in landscape architecture. The overview of the system can be seen on figure 2.

Figure 2. HWC in Jenfelder Au

The system is, as mentioned, based on separating the streams, by under which the rainwater is being directly led into a grassland cascade, where part of it infiltrates in the soil, and the remaining water enters an artificial lake. Overfill of the water from the lake can be used as technical water, for example, irrigation. The greywater in HWC is being separated at the source, and then being led into a trickling filter, and then simply being released into the environment. The small, remaining part which stays in the trickling filter as sludge is being combined with blackwater for further treatment. Blackwater in HWC is being collected in special vacuum water-saving toilets. While conventional toilets use eight or ten liters of freshwater per flush, the vacuum toilets use only around one liter of water per flush. Blackwater is then being stored in an intermediate tank which is under vacuum. Then, created blackwater is combined with other substrates, like kitchen fats, and being digested in the anaerobic tanks to produce biogas. The biogas is being used on site for a micro combined heat and power plant, consisting of a gas engine. The heat from the cooling agent used for the gas engine is being used for heating the houses, as well as heating up warm tap water. As for the digestate, there is several options for it to be handled. In order to simplify the process, we can assume that the digestate will be used as a fertilizer for growing trees and bushes along the highway. [3]


Both systems have many processes happening during the wastewater handling. Both energy-consuming and energy-producing processes exist in both systems. In the wastewater treatment processes, some processes constantly use energy (for example lighting, vacuum station, maintain the digestor temperature) while some processes are dependant on the flows of wastewater (pumping, filtration, stirring, etc). As for the sake of simplifying this very complex assessment there will be some simplifications for both the centralized treatment systems, and for the HWC system. The scope of this assessment will be the wastewater energy use from the point of creation to the point of being released into the recipient.

3.1 Energy use in the Hamburg Wasser Treatment plant

The Hamburgs WWTP most electrically-consuming processes are pumping the wastewater up before beginning the process of clarification which consumes , and aerating the wastewater in the aeration pools, as well as sludge centrifugation. The thermally most consuming process is sludge drying. In the following table there is an overview of energy consuming or gaining processes processes in the WWTP, listed by sequence in the plant. Table 1. Energy consumption parameters for centralized WWTP
Process Wastewater pumping to the WWTP Pumping in the Plant, and primary treatment WWTP infrastructure Aeration Nitrification Phosphorous precipitation Sludge thickening Heating in digestor Biogas production Sludge dewatering Sludge drying Sludge incineration Unit kWh/m3 kWh/m3 kWh/y kWh/kgCOD kWh/kgNH4 kWh/kgP kWh/m3sludge kWhth/tsludge m3 biogas/kgVS kWh/tTS kWhth/tTS m3 nat.gas/tdry sludge Averaged value 0,12 0,4 158000 0,35 3,8 5 0,5 26,7 0,5 55 2500 20 Source [2] [1] [2] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1]

In order to successfully calculate the approximate energy used for treating the wastewater some additional values need to be known. They are shown in the table 2. Table 2. Additional characteristics needed for the calculation
Unit Energy content of biogas kWh/m3 biogas Efficiency of CHP in cogeneration % Energy content of thickened sludge kWh/ tdry sludge Energy content of natural gas kWh/ m3 nat.gas VS content of sludge before treatment % Averaged value 6,3 65 2700 9,5 3 Source Own findings Own findings Own findings Own findings [1]

After determining all of these, we can make a short overview of the amounts of wastewater generated in the city of Hamburg, and its properties

Table 3. Information about wastewater in the city of Hamburg Parameter Inhabitants of Hamburg Specific water consumption Water loss within households Water loss in sewer systems N load in total P load in total TOC load in total COD load in total Sludge per eliminated COD Sludge per eliminated N Sludge per eliminated P Amount of primary sludge Amount of rainwater Sewered area in Hamburg Sewered area per person in Hamburg Amount of rainwater per person per year Total amount of wastewater emerging from one inhabitant per year Total amount of sludge TS emerging from one inhabitant per year Total amount of sludge VS emerging from one inhabitant per year Total volume of raw sludge emerging from one inhabitant per year Total volume of dewatered sludge emerging from one inhabitant per year Total mass of dried sludge emerging from one inhabitant per year Unit Persons m3/py m3/py % of total inflow kgN/py kgP/py kgC/py kgCOD/py kgsludgeTS/py kgsludgeTS/py kgsludgeTS/py kgsludgeTS/py m3/yha ha Ha/p m3/py m3/py kgsludgeTS/py kgsludgeVS/py m3sludge/py m3sludge/py m3sludge/py Reference value 1 750 000 39,055 1,450 3 4,75 0,8 20,805 62 24,8 5,04 5,44 3,65 700 29 500 0,017 11,9 48,4 38,93 25,3 1,298 0,177 0,177 Source [1] Calculated from [1] Calculated from [1] [1] Calculated from [1] Calculated from [1] Calculated from [1] Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated from [1] [1] Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated

It is worth taking in account that there are some amounts of COD, N and P in the wastewater being released in the recipient. They are shown in the following table.

Table 4. Required effluent concentrations (AbwV, 2004)

Parameter COD N P Value 75 13 1 Unit mg/l mg/l mg/l

Because of this, we need to take in account that some of the generated amounts of COD, N, and P will be released with the effluent. That means that not all of the generated mass will be removed. Finally, we can make a calculation about the energy use to handle wastewater specified per person per year in Hamburg. For this we need to combine the energy demands from the table 1, with the amounts emerging per person per year from table 3. Table 5. Energy used per person, per year, in order to handle wastewater
Process Wastewater pumping to the WWTP Pumping in the Plant, and primary treatment Aeration Nitrification Phosphorous precipitation Sludge dewatering Sludge thickening Heating in digestor Biogas production Methane production Primary Energy withing the biogas Amount of methane remaining after sludge incineration Primary Energy within the remaining methane Sludge drying Sludge incineration Thermal energy gain from incinerated sludge together with the co-fired gas WWTP infrastructure consumption Unit kWh/py kWh/py kWh/py kWh/py kWh/py kWh/py kWh/py kWhth/py m3 biogas/py m3 CH4/py kWh/py m3 CH4/py kWh/py kWhth/py m3 nat.gas/py kWhth/py kWh/py Averaged value 5,808 19,36 20,42 3,8 4 43 0,649 4,7259 12,65 7,6 80 5,7 53.7 99,575 1,89 496 0,09 Source [2] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] [1] Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated [1] Calculated [2]

So, as it is shown, some processes consume energy, but two processes, generating biogas, and combusting sludge is generating energy. As some energy of this is electrical, some thermal, it is convenient to summarize the result in the following table. The biogas generated and steam generated from the sludge combustion is used on site

for covering the energy demand. There is a combined heat and power process, including gas engines, gas and steam turbines. The overall efficiency for generating electricity is about 22%, and the efficiency for thermal utilization is further 60%. Table 6. Energy use overview
Energy sums Total thermal energy consumption Total electrical energy consumption Electricity generation Thermal energy generation Total electrical energy balance Total thermal energy balance Unit kWhth/py kWhel/py kWhel/py kWhth/py kWhel/py kWhth/py Amount 105 97,13 120 329,8 +23 +224

3.2 Energy use in the HWC in Jenfelder Au

In contrast to Hamburgs centralized WWTP, the system in Jenfelder Au is much simpler, and easier to assess, having much less elements. First of all the rainwater doesnt need any energy to be handled. The greywater is only pumped through the trickling filter. The only energy demanding processes are regarding the blackwater collection, and co-substrate delivery. Table 7. Process parameters for HWC system in Jenfelder Au
Process Greywater pumping through the trickling filter Vacuum sewerage station operation Bioreactor stirring Heating for the reactor Amount of lawn cuts Content of VS in lawn cuts Amount of fats Content of VS in fats Truck capacity for lawn cuts and fat Needed trips per year Average trip to and from Jenfelder Au Truck consumption Unit kWh/m3 kWh/m3 kWh/y kWhth/tsubstrate t/y Kg/t t/y Kg/t t/truck kWh/m3sludge Km l/km Averaged value 0,4 15 25200 26,7 3650 290 3650 41,67 15 486 8 0,27 Source [2] [1] calculated [1] Own findings Own findings Own findings Own findings Own findings Calculated Own findings Own findings

Truck consumption per trip Truck consumption per year Primary energy consumed for truck consumption Biogas yield for blackwater Biogas yield for fats Biogas yield for lawn cuts

l/trip l/y kWh/y m3 nat.gas/kgVS m3 nat.gas/kgVS m3 nat.gas/kgVS

2,16 1049 10676 0,5 1,02 0,55

Calculated Calculated Calculated Own findings Own findings Own findings

For the future citizens living in Jenfelder Au, following parameters are determined. Table 8. Wastewater generation parameters for Jenfelder Au
Parameter Unit Averaged value Number of citizens P 2000 3 Amount of freshwater used per year m /py 30,295 Amount of greywater generated 28,105 m3/py 3 Amount of blackwater generated 2,19 m /py Amount of TS in blackwater Kg/py 16,425 Amount of VS in blackwater Kg/py 10,67 Source [2] Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated Calculated

Finally, we can make a calculation about the energy use to handle wastewater specified per person per year in a decentralized plant in Jenfelder Au. For this we need to combine the energy demands and process parameters from table 7 with the individual inhabitant generation parameters in the table 8. Table 9. Energy requirements and gains per person per year
Process Greywater pumping through the trickling filter Vacuum sewerage station operation Bioreactor stirring Heating for the reactor Amount of lawn cuts Content of VS in lawn cuts Amount of fats Content of VS in fats Truck consumption per year Primary energy consumed for truck consumption Biogas yield for blackwater Unit kWh/py kWh/py kWh/py kWhth/tsubstrate t/y Kg/py t/y Kg/py l/py kWh/py m3 biogas/py Averaged value 11,2 32,85 12,6 155,93 1,825 529 1,825 76,05 0,52 5,338 5,335 Source [2] [1] calculated [1] Calculated Own findings Calculated Own findings Calculated Calculated Calculated

Biogas yield for fats Biogas yield for lawn cuts Primary energy within the biogas Electrical energy yield of the micro-CHP Thermal energy yield of the micro-CHP

m3 biogas/py m3 biogas/py kWh/py kWh/py kWh/py

77,571 291 2355,29 706,59 1530,93

Calculated Calculated [1] Calculated Calculated

As it is shown, some processes consume energy, both electrical and thermal, but also diesel fuel is needed for the co-substrate delivery. The biogas generated is used on site in a micro-CHP, with an approximate power of 140 kW el, and 224 kWth. Summarized results are shown in the following table. Table 10. Energy sums for HWC in Jenfelder Au
Energy sums Total thermal energy consumption Total electrical energy consumption Electricity generation Thermal energy generation Total electrical energy balance Total thermal energy balance Total fuel Primary energy consumed for truck consumption Unit kWhth/py kWhel/py kWhel/py kWhth/py kWhel/py kWhth/py l/py kWh/py Amount 155 113 706,59 1530,93 +593,29 +1375,93 0,52 5,338

From what it is shown in the summary tables, it is visible that under these assumptions and scopes of the study both systems have positive energy balances. The positive electrical energy balance of +593,29 kWh/py in HWC system is much better than +23 kWh/py balance in the centralized Hamburgs WWTP. This is mainly due to the fact that HWC system does not have intensive pumping and aeration processes which exist in the centralized WWTP. The fact that there is an additional substrate brought in, is definitely in favor for the energy balance in HWC. But this co-substrate is not emerging in the process, so the blackwater itself would have a very low biogas yield, and the electrical balance would not have been so high. On the other hand, it is not possible to run the process only on blackwater, as it is too liquid for the fermenter. All these results are derived from many assumptions, for example, the assumption that all values are constant in time. Also there are assumptions that some processes dont consume energy at all. For example removing the digestate and composting it, in HWC. The general conclusion is that this assessment may be used in the scope of the student work, or as an preliminary tool for making decisions. But definitely before the actual realization, there should be a more in-depth overview and energy analysis.

[1] Franziska Meinzinger. Resource Efficiency of Urban Sanitation Systems: A Comparative Assessment Using Material and Energy Flow Analysis, TU Harburg, Hamburg, 2010. [2] Dockhorn T. and Dichtl N. A decision support tool for implementing a sustainable resource management in the sector of municipal wastewater treatment. In: 2nd IWA LeadingEdge Conference on Sustainability in WaterLimited Environments, Water and Environmental Management Series. IWA Publishing, 2006. [3] http://www.hamburgwatercycle.de