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Latest Hydro-BPT paper published by Water Policy Journal


The latest Hydro-BPT paper was published in the IWA journal Water Policy entitled "Energy recovery in the water industry using micro-hydropower: an opportunity to improve sustainability". The paper examines the economic, environmental and organisational challenges faced by the water industry in implementing micro-hydropower in its infrastructure. Renewable energy is a growing sector, but this paper discusses the engineering challenges of small scale hydro, the environmental impacts i.e. the carbon footprint of hydro installations (there is associated concrete and steel needed to construct them) and the organisational element to business collaboration of the water companies. This multidisciplinary project brings these three aspects together and examines the true potential of micro-hydropower on a national scale.

The water industry as a whole consumes a considerable amount of energy in the treatment and distribution of water and wastewater. Like all sectors of society today, the industry is focusing efforts on reducing its CO2 emissions and improving the sustainability of its systems and practices. One way of achieving this is through the use of micro-hydropower (MHP) installations in water infrastructure for energy recovery purposes. This paper presents a review of energy use and CO2 emissions in the water industry as well as highlighting the opportunities and challenges for MHP energy recovery. The results indicate that significant potential exists for energy recovery in the water industry. However, many previous investigations have not considered key complexities such as variations in flows or turbine efficiency. Similarly, accurate costing and return on investment data are often absent or lacking sensitivity analysis. Further research is required to address the risks and long-term reliability of installations, alongside the development of firm policy to direct and incentivise sustainability gains in this area.

The full paper can be found here.

Publication date: 7 February 2014

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