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Innovative Energy Recovery Strategies in the urban water cycle (INNERS)
Start date: Mar 31, 2010, End date: Dec 30, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Currently. a transition is taking place in Europe towards an increasing awareness of the effects of our behavior on the environment. Instead of using fossil fuels. the focus slowly shifts towards minimizing energy consumption or using renewable sources of energy with the purpose to reduce carbon emissions. There is an enormous amount of energy within the urban water cycle that is ignored and lost. This can be illustrated by the following figures: municipal wastewater contains ten times the amount of energy needed for the treatment in wastewater treatment plants. On average. only 20% of the energy input in wastewater treatment is recovered energy; this means we are currently using only a small percentage of the available energy recovery potential. INNERS therefore. aims to approach the urban water cycle as a system that transports energy. Our main goal is to improve the energy balance of the urban water cycle by recovering the energy from all different parts within the urban water cycle and by promoting its re-use. The ultimate aim is to devise an urban water cycle that will be energy neutral or even an energy producer. The INNERS project will contribute to the EU climate policy demand to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to increase the use of currently unexploited renewable sources of energy. Also. a reduced energy demand contributes to lower energy costs and lower urban water cycle costs to the public. This strengthens the position of the urban communities with a more sustainable urban water cycle. Delivering improvement of the energy balance in the water cycle requires the development of new collaborations in North West Europe to transfer knowledge. Also. visible examples have to be developed to show the short and long term benefits. Our project set-up. with a mixture between research and implementation activities guarantees these demands in the most optimal way. Achievements: Why working transnationally?Energy consumption varies largely from country to country in North-West Europe, which shows the need to optimise and harmonise practices in the area. To come to this conclusion, INNERS analysed the energy performance of 344 waste water treatment plants across the area. How does this work in practice?INNERS is not only producing knowledge but it is also applying it on seven demonstration projects. Examples:Raaltes local swimming pool in the Netherlands is now heated by warmth from purified wastewater. With this, the project expects to save 137.000 kg of CO2 per year.93 social housing apartments in Leuven (Belgium) will be heated by warmth from the sewer systemWe have produced an energy potential urban water cycle. The next step is to convert this tool into a format for wider use by researchers to advise local and regional authorities how energy from the urban water cycle can be used in their region. What will happen after INNERS ends?Project partners are ensuring work will go on. For that, they are targeting policy makers, future experts and technical specialists, able to apply the projects findings. Until so far, the project has produced:An energy potential model for the urban water cycle. The next step is to translate it into a usable tool for researchers to advise local and regional authorities on how they can use energy from the urban water cycle in their region.Four out of seven demonstration projects to demonstrate how energy from the urban water cycle can be saved in practice.An Energy Online System (EOS) to help operators optimise the energy balance of their waste water treatment plants
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  • 2007 - 2013 North West Europe
  • Project on KEEP Platform
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