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Danish treatment plant wins international plaudits

"The Danish water sector is a role model for the rest of the world," says new international report on energy efficiency in the water sector.

The Danish water sector uses far less energy on producing drinking water and on cleaning wastewater than other EU Member States and the US. Wastewater treatment plants in Denmark are world leaders and produce much more energy than they use. And this has caught the attention of the international community.

In the latest report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Danish water sector is presented as an energy-efficient sector. World Energy Outlook 2016 mentions in particular the Marselisborg wastewater treatment plant in Aarhus, Jutland, as an example of how wastewater treatment can become energy-neutral in the future.

"It's good for the environment and for consumers when a growing number of Danish wastewater treatment plants become energy producers, and make revenues from selling energy. I urge all Danish wastewater utility companies to examine whether they can clean wastewater at a lower cost by selling energy from wastewater treatment. The International Energy Agency's mention is valuable for Danish technology producers, and hopefully they will ensure that the technology will be valuable to countries outside Denmark as well," said the Danish Minister for Environment and Food, Esben Lunde Larsen.

The water sector is one of the most energy-consuming sectors in the world. The sector is estimated to account for 4% of total annual electricity consumption worldwide. This corresponds to the entire electricity consumption of Russia. This figure is around 3% in the European Union and in the US. However, the Danish water sector only uses 1.8% of Danish electricity consumption, and this figure is set to decrease significantly in the forthcoming years.

-"Right now, we are seeing a tremendous interest from around the world - especially the United States - to see how we have succeeded in Aarhus adapting our treatment plants to be energy producers rather than consumers of energy. At Marselisborg wastewater treatment plant we produce 50 percent more electricity than the plant consumes. This is quite unique. The excess electricity goes out to consumers as green energy. We also produce heat for district heating network, which is equivalent to the annual consumption of 500," said the CEO of Aarhus Vand Lars Schrøder.

A report written by NIRAS on the Danish water sector shows that the entire Danish water sector can become energy-neutral within a few years using existing technology. Wastewater companies will be able to produce enough energy to cover energy consumption throughout the water sector.

Further information:

Jeanette Løv Rasmussen, Press Officer, Ministry of Environment and Food, tel. +45 9359 7070, email: jelra@mfvm.dk

Katrine Rafn, Head of Department, Agency for Water and Nature Management, tel. +45 72 54 49 48, email: karaf@svana.dk

Facts:

Read the International Energy Agency's report World Energy Outlook 2017 here.

Read the plan from NIRAS "Energy-producing water sector" here.


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