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A Portrait of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Systems in Turkey as Self-sustaining Renewable Energy Producers



The aim of this study was to conduct a review study on the detailed potential analysis of sustainable energy generation using the municipal wastewater and sewage sludge available in the current municipal wastewater treatment systems in Turkey. Although renewable energy potential in Turkey has been reviewed in detail in the open literature, studies, which specifically focusing on the role and significance of municipal wastewater and sewage sludge within this context, do not exist mainly due to the complex structure of the current plants obstructing a detailed data analysis, or due to the fact that local municipalities mainly focused on wastewater treatment only ignoring the fact that sewage sludge would be used for generating potentially continuous and sustainable source of energy. This study has been executed in order to establish a starting ground for municipal governments and researchers conducting studies on energy generation using municipal sewage sludge in Turkey.

The study considered three interconnected systems in energy recovery from municipal sewage sludge: (1) anaerobic putrefaction of sewage sludge for biogas production; (2) use of the produced biogas in a gas engine powered cogeneration system for combined heat and power generation; (3) disposal of sewage sludge cake by drying and burning in a fluidized bed incineration plant, using the actual sewage sludge treatment operation data of an active municipal wastewater treatment plant in Gaziantep. This plant treats nearly 200,000 m3 per day of domestic wastewater  and at the end of anaerobically activated sludge digestion, 10,000-18,000 m3 biogas is generated daily. Total electricity generated by the biogas powered gas engine is 1,000 kWh, which is used for the wastewater treatment on site. The biogas and electricity generation potential of the current municipal wastewater treatment plants in Turkey was discussed as well.




Ayşegül ABUŞOĞLU is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Gaziantep University, and has been a member of the faculty since 2010. She received her BSc (1994), MSc (2001), and PhD (2008) degrees in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Gaziantep University. Her research interests cover renewable energy, energy from waste, advanced thermodynamic and thermoeconomic theories and applications, and quantum thermodynamics.