Veolia turns wastewater heat into energy!

Posted on 03 June 2021.

In Poland, near Poznan, Veolia has just installed a cogeneration system that recovers the residual heat from wastewater.

Our cities consume a lot of energy! While they represent only 2% of the world's land area, they consume almost 78% of the world's energy (source: Good Planet Foundation). However, this energy is mainly non-renewable.

The process is expected to increase in the coming years. Indeed, the UN estimates that by 2050, two thirds of the world's population will live in urban areas and many cities will have more than one million inhabitants. The role of cities is therefore crucial to energy transition.

In order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, they will need to reduce their energy consumption, decrease their dependence on non-renewable energy sources and find alternative sources of supply.

Veolia has been helping public authorities reduce their environmental footprint for many years. In Poland, as the benchmark for optimal resource management, the company has developed an ingenious system to recover heat from wastewater in order to produce energy. 

In close cooperation with the local wastewater treatment plant Aquanet, Veolia has implemented an innovative system. The power for heat pumps is generated locally by the gas cogeneration unit and surplus of energy is supplying the district heating network with “green” heat.


Local, decarbonised energy

The ecological advantages of this process are numerous. It is an innovation that provides heat from an unused local resource while reducing energy production derived from coal. The analyses predict coal savings of around 3,400 tonnes per year and a reduction in air pollution of 74% (i.e. a reduction of 4,700 tonnes per year in CO2 emissions).

This unprecedented cooperation between a water company and an energy company now makes it possible to supply decarbonised energy

This unprecedented cooperation between a water company and an energy company is now providing decarbonised energy to an industrial customer based in Bolechowo and heating for housing in the town of Murowana Goslina. An initiative that demonstrates the potential for waste energy recovery.

In France, ADEME (the French Agency for Ecological Transition) estimates this residual heat source at 109.5 TWH, or 36% of fuel consumption. A colossal energy resource that could, in the future, make our territories more resilient.