How can sewage treatment plants contribute to climate goals and what kind of legal framework is needed?



The climate and energy policy objectives of the Federal Government, most recently defined in the Climate Protection Plan 2050, call for considerable action in the municipal context. This is where the wastewater industry comes into focus as it is the largest individual energy consumer in many municipalities. At the same time, the sewage treatment plants generate energy in the form of gas, electricity or heat – a potentially important component of the regional energy system.

The overriding objective of the research project is to determine the potential of the wastewater industry with rgard to climate protection goals. Different technical options will be investigated and compared. The aim is to identify the need for adaptation with regard to consistent optimisation of wastewater treatment plants and their integration into the energy system. KlimAW will also point out factors that inhibit implementation. For this purpose, the interactions with the energy market and its requirements and relevant framework conditions are taken into account.

Within the framework of KlimAW, IKEM examines the legal framework specific to energy and waste water. IKEM will analyse the requirements and obstacles for a flexible operation of wastewater treatment plants (consumption and production side) take into account the framework conditions for heat generation in wastewater treatment plants. In addition, it will be clarified to what extent municipal sewage treatment plants may carry out “additional” activities, such as the provision of control energy or heat marketing.



IKEM – Institute for Climate Protection, Energy and Mobility e.V.

Wastewater management's potential for climate protection and energy efficiency

Principal: Umweltbundesamt

Project partner: Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung , Wupperverbandsgesellschaft für integrale Wasserwirtschaft mbH

Duration: 08/2018–03/2019