Azura’s David Ellis is an invited speaker at the 56th Central Canadian Symposium on Water Quality Research. Organized by the Canadian Association of Water Quality, (CAWQ), this event will be held virtually on March 24-25th, 2021. David has been invited by the chair of the symposium to share his expertise gained over 30+ years of experience in the anaerobic digestion industry, specifically to explore codigestion opportunities at municipal wastewater treatment facilities.
CAWQ is a national non-governmental, non-profit organization for professionals engaged in research on water quality, or control and treatment of water pollution. The objectives of CAWQ are to:
- promote research on the scientific, technological, legal, economic, and policy aspects of water quality and of the control and treatment of water pollution,
- further the exchange of information and practical application of such research for the public benefit, and
- promote the goals and objectives of the International Water Association (IWA) in Canada.
The objective of this specific symposium is to bring together people from the diverse fields of water quality management and research and to present achievements and innovation from experts in science, engineering, and policy. As well, the aim is to exchange information for public benefit in Canada between universities, consultants, and government. This event is supported by CAWQ, IWA Young Water Professional (YWP) Canada chapter, Ryerson University, University of Toronto, and York University.
David’s presentation specifically focusing on opportunities for codigestion using existing anaerobic digestion infrastructure at municipal wastewater treatment plants. Codigestion is the process whereby fats, oil, and grease (together called “FOG”) and other organic waste is combined and processed along with sewage sludge at wastewater treatment plants to produce renewable energy, thereby turning these treatment plants into the more appropriately named Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRFs).
He will be covering key considerations in codigestion projects and outline how the shift to codigestion can contribute to resource recovery and net-zero energy, or energy neutrality, at WRRFs. The biogas produced through anaerobic digestion can be burned to produce heat for the facility, used to generate green electricity, or upgraded to produce renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG is one of the few renewable fuels that can be carbon negative!
These conversations are significant as municipalities spend a large portion of their energy consumption on water and wastewater systems and the trend is moving towards increasing energy costs. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario has noted that “Municipal water and wastewater systems are usually a municipal government’s largest energy users, consuming, on average, 38% of the energy use. By shifting towards water resource recovery facilities, there is an opportunity to reduce the impact of increasing costs by offsetting energy consumption with energy generation.
There are many benefits to codigestion such as value generation from biosolids, minimizing waste, recovering resources, and unlocking trapped energy potential. Along with government priorities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and recovering resources from all waste, there is a tremendous opportunity for municipalities to lead a major shift toward resource recovery and energy neutrality at WRRFs.
To attend the 56th Central Canadian Symposium on Water Quality Research, please check the Canadian Association of Water Quality site here.
 (Environmental Commissioner Ontario, 2017)