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Crutchik, D., & Campos, J. L. (2021). Municipal Wastewater Reuse: Is it a Competitive Alternative to Seawater Desalination? Sustainability, 13(12), 6815.
Abstract: Water scarcity is becoming a global challenge to attempts to narrow the water demand-supply gap. To overcome this problem, it is sensible to consider alternative technologies that can exploit non-conventional water resources. The choice of such technologies should be, however, carefully analyzed, because any choice might be unfeasible from an economic point of view. In this work, a methodology to select the most appropriate non-conventional water resource, out of municipal wastewater and seawater, was proposed. Specifically, we attempted to determine which alternative provides cheaper water supply and production costs for domestic uses, depending on the wastewater treatment system used and the water plant capacity. The production of water under three scenarios was analyzed: (i) a city that has a conventional wastewater treatment plant (WWTP); (ii) a city that uses primary treatment and submarine outfalls to treat municipal wastewater; (iii) seawater desalination. The proposed methodology was tested in Chilean cities that are located in areas where water is a scarce resource. The results showed that the reuse of municipal wastewater represents a cost-competitive alternative to seawater desalination, mainly when municipal wastewater is treated in a conventional WWTP and when water flow demand is higher than 1500 m(3)/d. In contrast, seawater desalination becomes more profitable than wastewater reuse when the treatment of municipal wastewater is based on the use of submarine outfalls. This study provides a useful economic tool for promoting municipal wastewater reuse as a non-conventional water source for supplying water to cities that suffer from water scarcity in Chile and in similar areas of the world.
Crutchik, D., Franchi, O., Caminos, L., Jeison, D., Belmonte, M., Pedrouso, A., et al. (2020). Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) Production: A Feasible Economic Option for the Treatment of Sewage Sludge in Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants? Water, 12(4), 12 pp.
Abstract: Sludge is a by-product of municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) and its management contributes significantly to the operating costs. Large WWTPs usually have anaerobic sludge digesters to valorize sludge as methane and to reduce its mass. However, the low methane market price opens the possibility for generating other high value-added products from the organic matter in sludge, such as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). In this work, the economic feasibility of retrofitting two types of WWTPs to convert them into biofactories of crude PHAs was studied. Two cases were analyzed: (a) a large WWTP with anaerobic sludge digestion; and (b) a small WWTP where sludge is only dewatered. In a two-stage PHA-production system (biomass enrichment plus PHAs accumulation), the minimum PHAs cost would be 1.26 and 2.26 US$/kg PHA-crude for the large and small WWTPs, respectively. In a single-stage process, where a fraction of the secondary sludge (25%) is directly used to accumulate PHAs, the production costs would decrease by around 15.9% (small WWTPs) and 19.0% (large WWTPs), since capital costs associated with bioreactors decrease. Sensitivity analysis showed that the PHA/COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand) yield is the most crucial parameter affecting the production costs. The energy, methane, and sludge management prices also have an essential effect on the production costs, and their effect depends on the WWTP's size.
Montane, M., Ruiz-Valero, L., Labra, C., Faxas-Guzman, J. G., & Girard, A. (2021). Comparative energy consumption and photovoltaic economic analysis for residential buildings in Santiago de Chile and Santo Domingo of the Dominican Republic. Renew. Sust. Energ. Rev., 146, 111175.
Abstract: This research compares the building energy consumption and the photovoltaic economic analysis between residential buildings in Santiago de Chile and Santo Domingo of the Dominican Republic. The methodology considered thermal simulation, sizing of a solar PV system, an economic analysis and CO2 emissions given the solar resources of both countries. A scenario where the constructive systems are switched between the countries was also analyzed. A comparison of the energy performances of the houses exposed to other climate conditions. Results show that housing in Santiago de Chile required less energy than housing in Santo Domingo due to the fact that the thermal transmittance of the enclosures of the Chilean housing has better thermal behavior, compared to the materials of the Dominican housing. Dominican houses need a higher amount of electricity for air cooling due to the high temperatures in the tropic. Meanwhile, Chilean countries requires a higher amount of gas for heating purposes. The Dominican Republic lacks thermal regulation for construction material, and applying Chilean standards in Dominican houses, helped to lower the yearly electricity demand by 19%. Dominican constructions materials improvement could have an important impact in the country's overall goal to lower CO2 emission and in-house energy savings. The economic analysis showed that the Dominican Republic renewable energies incentives contribute to the development of very attractive PV projects, meanwhile in Chile, the use of net metering instead of net billing could increase by 11 times the net present value of PV projects.