Grand Rapids Upgrades Energy Efficiency of Waste Water Treatment Plant

September 16, 2015 By Carl Weinschenk

OpTerra Energy Services: Building the Sustainable Energy Economy. (PRNewsFoto/OpTerra Energy Services)

The Michigan Waste Water Treatment Plant in Grand Rapids has successfully completed the first phase of an energy efficiency program with OpTerra Energy Services. The program, which is aligned with a broader city sustainability initiative, is expected to save $2.2 million in energy expenditures during the next 15 years.

The program started in 2013. It features plant upgrades focusing on air controls and HVAC efficiency. Funding was through a performance contract aimed at enabling the plant to contribute to Grand Rapids’ citywide goals of reducing carbon emissions by 10,000 metric tons and increasing energy efficiency and conservation at city facilities by 10 percent.

The broader program will reduce carbon emissions by 2,835 tons annually. Future plans potentially include a biosolids project on the plant site in 2016.

Waste water plants are big energy users. Research reported upon in Water Online eventually may change that, however. An Arizona State University bioenergy professor and his team are researching use of Galdieria sulphuraria to clean waste water. The microorganism essentially cleans the water at Yellowstone National Park. The tests are being performed on waste water from Las Cruces, NM. If the process can be commercialized, the story says, great energy savings will be realized.

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