Techno-economic assessment of chp systems in wastewater treatment plants

Derall M. Riley, Jiashen Tian, Gamze Güngör-Demirci, Patrick Phelan, J. Rene Villalobos, Ryan J. Milcarek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) utilization of combined heat and power (CHP) systems allows for the efficient use of on-site biogas production, as well as increased annual savings in utility costs. In this paper, a review of biogas energy recovery options, CHP prime mover technologies, and the costs associated with biogas cleaning give a broad summary of the current state of CHP technology in WWTPs. Even though there are six different prime mover technologies, the main ones currently being implemented in WWTPs are micro turbines, fuel cells and reciprocating engines. Different prime movers offer varying efficiencies, installation costs, and biogas impurity (H2 S, siloxanes, HCl) tolerances. To evaluate the long-term savings capabilities, a techno-economic assessment of a CHP installation at a case study WWTP shows the payback, annual savings, and initial costs associated with the installation of a CHP system. In this case, a study a payback of 5.7 years and a net present value of USD 709,000 can be achieved when the WWTP generates over 2,000,000 m3 of biogas per year and utilizes over 36,000 GJ of natural gas per year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number74
Pages (from-to)1-32
Number of pages32
JournalEnvironments - MDPI
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Anaerobic digestion (AD)
  • Biogas
  • Combined heat and power (CHP)
  • Fuel cells
  • Gas turbines
  • Internal combustion engine
  • Wastewater treatment plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)


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