Energy Recovery in the Water & Waste Water Industry using Micro-Hydropower: A Review

Aonghus McNabola, Paul Coughlan, Lucy Corcoran, Christine Power, Prysor Williams, Ian Harris, Rachel Taylor, and Andrew Packwood


Water Supply, Waste Water, Energy Recovery, Environmental Impact, Hydropower


The water industry as a whole consumes a considerable amount of energy in the production distribution and treatment of water and waste water. Like all sectors of society today, the water industry is focusing efforts on the reduction of its CO2 emissions and the improvement of the sustainability of its systems and practices. This is being achieved in a number of ways including the use of micro-hydropower installations in water infrastructure for energy recovery purposes. This paper presents a review of energy use and CO2 emissions in the water industry as well as the opportunities and challenges for micro-hydro energy recovery. The results of the review indicate that significant potential exists for energy recovery in the water industry. However many investigations have not considered variations in flows or turbine efficiency. Similarly accurate costing and return on investment data are often absent. Further research in this area is required to address: the penetration of this concept in the water industry; and the risks and long term reliability of installations.

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