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Biologische Reinigung

Energy from biomass – making sewage treatment plants more flexible

Sewage treatment plants can make an important contribution to the energy transition and to preserving the natural cycles of life. Here we discuss current environmental and social ethical questions about the further development of sewage treatment plants for the targeted generation of gas and electricity from biogenic residues and waste materials.

Our wastewater treatment plants not only clean wastewater - they are also crucial for protecting some of the most important cycles of the Earth's ecosystem. This is where the water cycle and the cycles of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2) and phosphorus (P) meet - combined with energy flows in the form of heat, gas and electricity. The interdisciplinary research project FLXsynErgy  wants to contribute to making sewage treatment plants more flexible so that biogenic residues and waste materials can be used more specifically to generate gas and electricity. This can represent a contribution to the energy transition and social-ecological transformation, but it also touches on many ethical questions about how we deal with food, natural resources and waste materials, about the fair distribution of costs and profits and about acceptance by society as a whole. In the following chapters, we discuss related environmental and social ethical issues and warmly invite you to join in the discussion as the research project progresses.

Biogas and sewage gas: the technologies of the sewage treatment plant

Dr. Jörg Kretzschmar from the German Biomass Research Center shows the possibilities of recycling residues and waste materials in modern sewage treatment plants and discusses their opportunities and risks.

Abstract Water
Image by Eryk Fudala

01/ Environmental ethical reflections on the sewage treatment plant of the future

The philosophers Dr. Thomas Steinforth and Dr. Stefan Einsiedel ask what significance sewage treatment plants have for the “good life” that is so often invoked in philosophy. They show how sewage treatment plants can combine sustainable energy production and residual and waste material utilization.

Auf der grünen Wiese liegen

02/ Making digestion and biogas plants more flexible

Anaerobic Digestion systems in sewage treatment plants and biogas plants have the opportunity to contribute to the energy transition and the stability of the power grid through greater flexibility. The paper provides information about  of the research project FLXsynErgy and the collaboration in an interdisciplinary expert committee, which discusses opportunities, obstacles and wishes for future flexibility in  anaerobic digestion and biogas plants.

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