The potential of (waste)water as energy carrier: Energy Conversion and Management

J. Frijns, J. Hofman, M. Nederlof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

181 Citations (SciVal)


Next to energy efficiency improvements in the water sector, there is a need for new concepts in which water is viewed as a carrier of energy. Municipal wastewater is a potential source of chemical energy, i.e. organic carbon that can be recovered as biogas in sludge digestion. The recovery of chemical energy can be maximised by up-concentration of organic carbon and maximised sludge digestion or by source separation and anaerobic treatment. Even more so, domestic wastewater is a source of thermal energy. Through warm water conservation and heat recovery, for example with shower heat exchangers, substantial amounts of energy can be saved and recovered from the water cycle. Water can also be an important renewable energy source, i.e. as underground thermal energy storage. These systems are developing rapidly in the Netherlands and their energy potential is large.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • (Waste)Water
  • Biogas
  • Energy generation and recovery
  • Heat
  • Organic carbon
  • Underground thermal energy
  • Anaerobic treatments
  • Chemical energy
  • Domestic wastewater
  • Energy carriers
  • Energy efficiency improvements
  • Energy generations
  • Municipal wastewaters
  • Netherlands
  • Potential sources
  • Renewable energy source
  • Water cycle
  • Water sector
  • Energy efficiency
  • Heat storage
  • Renewable energy resources
  • Sludge digestion
  • Waste heat
  • Water conservation
  • Water supply
  • Recovery


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