Treating sewage is energy-intensive, and accounts for 20–30 per cent of a council’s energy costs.
And despite sewage being an energy-rich resource, the energy currently recovered from sewage is low.
Qilin Wang (Griffith University) has developed a technology, using a chemical already found in sewage treatment, to increase the energy recovered by four to six times.
The technology is easy to implement. Sewerage treatment plants could generate energy by adding a simple mixing tank to the plant, which would transform them from large energy consumers to energy generators.
The generated energy can be converted to electricity to power the sewerage plant or be put back into the grid. It could also save taxpayers approximately $100 million per year by reducing the financial burden of sewage treatment.