Multi-Country Scale Assessment of Available Energy Recovery Potential Using Micro-Hydropower in Drinking, Pressurised Irrigation and Wastewater Networks, Covering Part of the EU
Crespo Chacón, Miguel
Mérida García, Aida
García Morillo, J.
Rodríguez Diaz, Juan Antonio
Ramos, Helena M.
Water treatment plants
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Studies have shown micro-hydropower (MHP) opportunities for energy recovery and CO2 reductions in the water sector. This paper conducts a large-scale assessment of this potential using a dataset amassed across six EU countries (Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Spain, and Portugal) for the drinking water, irrigation, and wastewater sectors. Extrapolating the collected data, the total annual MHP potential was estimated between 482.3 and 821.6 GWh, depending on the assumptions, divided among Ireland (15.5–32.2 GWh), Scotland (17.8–139.7 GWh), Northern Ireland (5.9–8.2 GWh), Wales (10.2–8.1 GWh), Spain (375.3–539.9 GWh), and Portugal (57.6–93.5 GWh) and distributed across the drinking water (43–67%), irrigation (51–30%), and wastewater (6–3%) sectors. The findings demonstrated reductions in energy consumption in water networks between 1.7 and 13.0%. Forty-five percent of the energy estimated from the analysed sites was associated with just 3% of their number, having a power output capacity >15 kW. This demonstrated that a significant proportion of energy could be exploited at a small number of sites, with a valuable contribution to net energy efficiency gains and CO2 emission reductions. This also demonstrates cost-effective, value-added, multi-country benefits to policy makers, establishing the case to incentivise MHP in water networks to help achieve the desired CO2 emissions reductions targets.