New plant to produce heat and energy from biogas recovered from sewage sludge built in Gdansk

A biogas combined heat and power plant was built at Gdansk East Sewage Treatment Plant for the generation of heat and electricity from biogas produced during the biodegradation process of sewage sludge. This EU-funded project also included an educational programme and multimedia contest promoting renewable sources of energy among young people.

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The combined heat and power plant at the Gdansk East Sewage Treatment Plant © GIWK The combined heat and power plant at the Gdansk East Sewage Treatment Plant © GIWK

" The biogas combined heat and power plant (CHP) is automatic and maintenance-free. It consists of four units composed of internal-combustion engines supplied with biogas and powering the generator set. The electricity produced supplies the new installation for thermal treatment of sewage sludge and the surplus energy is sold to the industrial power network. The heat, in turn, is recovered by the heat exchangers from the cooling system of the engine and exhaust gases and covers the technological and domestic needs of wastewater treatment plant. "

Leonard Szczepański, Head of Energetic Unit, Gdansk Water Utilities Ltd.

The production capacity of the plant is 2.864 megawatts of electricity which is used as an energy source for the installation for thermal treatment of sewage sludge located at the wastewater treatment plant. Surplus energy is sold to the power network. The heat generated covers the technological and domestic needs of the treatment plant.

The investment was complemented by an educational programme for 782 students from 10 schools on renewable sources of energy and a multimedia contest. Participants in the contest took part in professional workshops during which they created adverts promoting renewable sources of energy, of which the best one was chosen by an online poll.

A valuable source of energy

Gdansk East Sewage Treatment Plant collects and treats sewage from the City of Gdansk and the neighbouring municipalities. Sewage sludge is a by-product of the sewage treatment process and contains a lot of biodegradable organic material. The degradation process results in the production of biogas, which is a valuable source of energy.

The project contributes to an increase in the share of energy from renewable sources used for the production of heat and electricity. The installation of the biogas combined heat and power plant also means that local renewable energy resources are used to a greater extent and that heat is recovered more effectively. Thanks to this investment, the region is better placed with its contribution to the achievement of EU targets on the share of energy consumption coming from renewable sources.

A range of environmental benefits have arisen from the project, including a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and improvement of local air quality. Social and economic benefits have come through the reduction in the operating costs of the wastewater treatment plant, while the project has also led to the creation of new jobs.

Technology used in the new installation was chosen by taking into account the effect of time on the equipment in terms of wear and tear. The new equipment is cost-effective, sustainable and efficient, which should ensure that the environmental, economic and social benefits can be sustained in the long term.

Increased interest in renewable energy among young people

The educational element of the project came about through a partnership between the Gdansk Water Utilities company and the Environmental Department at the municipality. This led to preparation of the programme and the school classes, as well as the elaboration of a guidebook on renewable sources of energy. The guidebook turned out to be a valuable teaching resource and is distributed to young people at various events.

This aspect helped to increase the interest and involvement of young people in renewable energy-related activities, as evidenced by the fact that over 6 000 internet users took part in the multimedia contest poll to decide on the best renewable energy publicity advert.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Biogas energetic recovery at Gdansk East Sewage Treatment Plant” is EUR 5 561 843, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing          EUR 1 599 339 through the “Pomerania” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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