The wastewater industry and climate change. (Source: Xylem.)
The wastewater industry and climate change. (Source: Xylem.)

The analysis further concludes that 95% of the electricity-related emissions abatement can be achieved at negative or neutral cost.

Powering the Wastewater Renaissance provides an analysis of energy efficiency in the wastewater management industry and assesses how the global water sector can reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions with existing, proven technologies. The report, which studied the wastewater sector in the US, Europe and China, assessed 18 distinct abatement opportunities – from pumps used to transport the water, to the blowers used to aerate it, to the various filtration systems used to treat it.

The greatest investment return and emissions abatement opportunities were found in China, where 100% of the emissions abatement opportunities analysed could be realised at zero or negative cost. In this region, where the government is actively investing in water infrastructure, more than $25 billion in net savings can be generated with the adoption of high efficiency wastewater technologies. With the addition of the United States and Europe, the savings top $40 billion.

The report notes two levers that would accelerate adoption of highly efficient wastewater technologies. First, new financing models that incentivise investments in low-carbon technologies would assist with the initial higher capital costs that often come with these advanced technologies. Second, increasing the energy efficiency standards of wastewater equipment would ensure broader adoption.

This report was initiated as part of Xylem’s commitment to advancing sustainable solutions in the water sector.