Evaluation of Combined Heat and Power Technologies for Wastewater Treatment Facilities

The report was developed by Columbus Water Works, under an assistance agreement awarded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in support of their Columbus Biosolids Flow-Through Thermophilic Treatment National Demonstration Project. The report examines common combined heat and power (CHP) technologies for converting anaerobic digester gas to electrical power and produce heat. The document includes technical and cost information to assist users in considering using more efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective wastewater treatment and in-plant wet weather management technologies.

The report's target audience is wastewater professionals, including decision makers for publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). These POTWs are facilities dedicated to treating wastewater. The report's authors assume that interested POTWs either operate an anaerobic digestion system or have decided to utilize anaerobic digestion in the future.

The report offers background information on CHP systems and their connection to anaerobic digestion. The authors describe a synergistic relationship, namely that digester gas represents a "free" fuel source for CHP systems, which can in turn provide the heat needed for anaerobic digestion processes. The report provides detailed technical information about existing power-producing CHP technologies which could utilize digester gas fuel, including internal combustion engines, gas turbines, microturbines, and fuel cells - along with data about each technology's performance and costs. It also addresses factors such as infrastructure requirements, digester gas treatment, and operational issues.

The report includes five in-depth case studies of POTWs operating digester gas-fueled CHP systems. The case studies are as follows:

  • Joint Water Pollution Control Plant (Carson, CA)
  • Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant (San Diego, CA)
  • Lancaster Water Reclamation Plant (Los Angeles County, CA)
  • Riverside Water Quality Control Plant (Riverside, CA)
  • Sheboygan Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant (Sheboygan, WI)
  • CWW CBFT3 project (Columbus, GA)


The report also provides information on the Life Cycle Assessment Manager for Energy Recovery (LCAMER), a model developed by the Water Environment Research Foundation. LCAMER enables wastewater professionals to make informed decisions on the feasibility of adopting energy recovery from the anaerobic digestion of wastewater solids.





Publication Date: September 25, 2012

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Jason R. Wiser
  • James W. Schettler
  • John L. Willis

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Resource Types:

  • Best practice
  • Case study

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