Capturing energy within urban water cycle

There is an enormous amount of energy within the urban water cycle, most of which is ignored. INNovative Energy Recovery Strategies (INNERS) aims to recover lost energy from different parts of the urban water cycle and re-use it on a local level.

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The INNERS project analysed the energy performance of 344 waste water treatment plants. © Herald van Gerner The INNERS project analysed the energy performance of 344 waste water treatment plants. © Herald van Gerner

" The amount of thermal energy lost in the water cycle is overwhelming. Why not recover it? That was the question that started INNERS. "

Katrien Bijl, Project Manager INNERS

On average, only 20 % of the energy input in wastewater treatment is recovered; this offers a huge source of untapped potential. The INNERS project analysed the energy performance of 344 waste water treatment plants and produced an Energy Online System (EOS) that helps operators optimise the energy balance of their operation.

With the EU’s climate policy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the use of unexploited renewable sources of energy, the EOS is an important tool to provide clean and reliable energy.

Making the most of urban water

The INNERS project focused on improving the sustainability of the urban water cycle by identifying opportunities to develop it as a source of energy and reducing its energy demand. To showcase what can be achieved from utilising urban water cycle, it also supported seven demonstration projects.

For example, Raalte’s local swimming pool in the Netherlands is now heated by warmth from purified wastewater. With this, the project expects to save 137 000 kg of CO2 per year. Also, in Leuven, Belgium, 93 social housing apartments will be heated by warmth from the sewer system.

Sharing best practices

The EOS demonstrates the potential energy savings and generation of an urban water cycle. This tool, along with the experience of the seven demonstration projects, can be used by researchers across Europe to advise local and regional authorities on how they can use energy from the urban water cycle in their region.

Thanks to the INNERS project, its partners are now targeting policy makers, future experts and technical specialists, who can apply the project’s findings.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “INNERS - Innovative Energy Recovery Strategies in the urban water cycle” is EUR 6 579 208, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 3 289 604 from the Operational Programme “North-West Europe” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date