Research Article // A GIS-Based Model to Assess the Potential of Wastewater Treatment Plants for Enhancing Bioenergy Production within the Context of the Water–Energy Nexus
By Francesca Valenti and Attilio Toscano. The study, developed by taking into account both collected data and GIS-based analyses, allowed elaborating and mapping: (i) the spatial localization of the WWTPs and of the bioenergy plants, and (ii) the quantification of SS produced within the study area.
The necessity of developing renewable energy sources has contributed to increasing interest in developing the anaerobic digestion for producing biomethane since it both provides green energy and reduces disposal treatment. In this regard, to assure efficient water utilization by finding alternative water sources, sewage sludge collected from the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) was recently investigated because it could represent a suitable resource for producing biomethane within the context of a circular economy. Therefore, this study aims at improving the current knowledge on the feasibility of biomethane production from sewage sludge by optimizing the logistic-supplying phase. In this regard, a GIS-based model was developed and applied to the Emilia-Romagna region to consider the existing networks of WWTPs and biogas systems to valorize sewage sludge for bioenergy production and minimizing environmental impact. The results of the GIS analyses allowed to localize the highest productive territorial areas and highlighted where sewage sludges are abundantly located and could be better exploited within agricultural biogas plants. Finally, the achieved results could help plan suitable policy interventions that are centered on biomass supply and outputs diversification, governance, and social participation, since the regulatory framework could play a crucial role in planning the reuse of these wastes for developing a more sustainable biomethane sector in line with the green economy goals.
Valenti, F., & Toscano, A. (2021). A GIS-Based Model to Assess the Potential of Wastewater Treatment Plants for Enhancing Bioenergy Production within the Context of the Water–Energy Nexus. Energies, 14(10), 2838.
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