Reducing methane emissions from wastewater treatment

We were the first to monitor methane emission from a municipal wastewater treatment plant during a long term.

We found that methane formed in sewers entering wastewater treatment plants can be biologically oxidized in the aeration tanks and indicate that this potential can be exploited by adequate process design and operation.

Anaerobic sludge treatment was identified as the largest methane source, causing a slightly larger greenhouse gas footprint than the CO2 emission avoided by using the resulting biogas for energy generation.

This could be remedied by better handling of ventilation air of sludge handling facilities. Our research concerning identification, quantification and mitigation of methane emissions from wastewater treatment was recognized at the IWA World Water Congress 2012 with the runner-up award from the Sustainability Specialist Group.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. The abatement of methane emission allows a more sustainable urban water management.


Prof. Eveline Volcke