Success in Sweden: A holistic approach to water and energy

Wed, 2016-04-20 07:00 -- SCC Staff

Swedish city Borås is taking another step towards full sustainability. This time it’s an ultra-efficient wastewater treatment plant that will not only meet strict emissions requirements, but also contribute renewable fuel for a city power plant.

That’s right – the city will be gaining energy from wastewater, usually a major headache for a city. How’d they pull it off? By taking a holistic approach with the help of Council Associate Partner Veolia, a world leader in resource management. That same holistic approach – treating the city as a collection of complex, interrelated systems – can bring enormous value to your city as well. -- Jesse Berst

Borås, a city with a population of a little over 66,000, already has a long and impressive track record in sustainability and environmental protection that dates back to the 1960s -- thanks at least in part to the efficiency and creativity of its recycling model. Now the city is taking a different approach to its goal of a future free of fossil fuels.

The Veolia news release below explains the processes, procedures and technologies that will give the city a big boost toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the amount of waste left over from wastewater treatment, and do it extremely efficiently.

Veolia to design and build tomorrow’s wastewater treatment plant in Borås, Sweden

Borås, the second largest city in Western Sweden, has been committed to sustainable development and low carbon footprint since the 1960’s. The Borås Energi och Miljö´s (BEM), who attributed this contract to Veolia, provides the city of Borås with district heating, district cooling, biogas, waste management, water and sewage treatment and energy and waste services. They also produce electricity in a combined heat and power plant and hydro power stations. By using their unique recycling model, they aim to convert the energy of the city´s waste streams into renewable valuables, and create a city free from fossil fuels.

The new wastewater treatment plant will be co-located with the local power plant at the new Energy and Environmental Center south from Borås. The new facility will have a 210,000 Population Equivalent capacity and will meet the emission requirements in a much more efficient way. Hand-over of the plant is scheduled for November 2018.

Cutting-edge Veolia technologies will provide a complete wastewater treatment cycle, from modern pretreatment and biological treatment, including a flexible activated sludge process, to chemical treatment and sewer overflow treatment with the proven Actiflo® process combined with Hydrotech™ Discfilters. The reject water will go through the Anita™ Mox process, particularly suited for streams highly loaded with ammonia.

The treatment plant is designed with the most energy-efficient technologies and with the aim to produce sludge with the highest possible potential to generate energy in the nearby biogas plant. Phosphorous will be recovered mainly through biological treatment which allows this essential resource to be reused as fertilizer.

Advanced control and monitoring will be provided throughout the plant by STAR™ Utility Solutions. This system is based on online surveys, continuously ensuring optimized operation in regards to environmental conditions, energy consumption and costs. It also provides a lot of flexibility, allowing the plant to be adapted to changing conditions caused by climate variations, for instance.

“The commitment, motivation and the will for development that Veolia has shown ensure that Borås will get a wastewater treatment plant of the highest environmental standards”, says Gunnar Peters, CEO of Borås Energi och Miljö.

Pierre Ribaute, Executive Vice President of Veolia Water Technologies, said: “Veolia has been working with the city of Borås for several years to help it reach its goal of reducing its carbon footprint. Being the global leader in environmental resource management, Veolia is uniquely suited to help municipalities and industries put in place a global strategy to manage their water, waste and energy. We are very proud to have been selected to design and build Borås’ new, sustainable wastewater treatment plant and look forward to continuing on a great partnership”.

This project follows on a long running collaboration between Veolia and Boras which started over 10 years ago. Relying on Veolia’s expertise in heat and cooling networks, Boras built a 37,000 cubic meter tank that, like a massive vacuum flask, stores the heat produced by a biomass plant during periods of low consumption and use it to cover peak demand. By smoothing peak consumption, Veolia’s solution reduces the need to use fossil fuels and in turn the city's carbon footprint. The system is an excellent example of Veolia's strategy of developing a "smart heat grid" concept, the aim of which is to optimize energy efficiency for a given area.

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