One of the main objectives of this day is to attain SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation for All.

“Valuing Water” is the UN’s theme to commemorate this day.

Brussels, 22 March 2021 – Since 1993, the United Nations has been commemorating World Water Day on 22 March to highlight the importance of fresh water. According to the UN, due to economic development and rising populations, agriculture and industries need more water. However, in order to meet the demand of electric energy, large volumes of water are used.

Up to date, the energy and industry sectors have regarded water in terms of the volume they used, plus treatment costs and disposal of wastewaters. Currently, organisations are increasingly adopting planning approaches based on an integrated management of water resources to strengthen sustainability and to value the crucial role of water.

LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 acts in this way. By generating renewable energy (biogas), this project aims to meet the industrial demand of energy with a green fuel in order to comply with EU goals as well as to achieve a 20% of energy production from renewable sources by 2020, and at least 27% by 2030. The generation of biogas is carried out by using a digital control system which automatically pumps specific amounts of organic wastes into wastewater sludge digesters.

SDGs are at the core of LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0’s strategy. Therefore, on World Water Day, this project stressed its commitment to SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation for All) through treating wastewaters and through using them to
produce a renewable energy.

The project is led by Global Omnium Medioambiente (Spain), and it is partnered by Finnova Foundation (Belgium) and Águas do Centro Litoral (Portugal). LIFE ECOdigestion 2.0 has a budget of roughly €970.000 and a duration of four years (2020-2024).

Currently, energy consumption in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the EU makes up 1 to 3% of all energy produced within the Union, which translates into 10,000 GWh/year, i.e, 27 million tons of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere.
Furthermore, this electric demand will increase some 20% in 15 years’ time. As reducing GHG emissions by producing renewable energy becomes the norm, the energetic recovery of water is paramount, as it is envisaged that energy
contained in water equals 2,7kWh/m3.

Producing energy through waste co-digestion in WWTPs has enormous advantages vis-à-vis the environment in terms of energy production, by offering an attractive alternative to fossil fuels to generate heat and energy. These advantages are aligned with commitments reached under the Paris Agreement in terms of reducing CO2 emissions. In addition, it enables to transform wastes into raw materials, just as the Directive 2008/98/CE sets out.

This technology is based on the former LIFE ECOdigestion project, whose goal was to develop, implement and demonstrate a pilot automated control software to regulate the pumping of wastes into anaerobic digesters and, consequently, to maximise the production of biogas and the treatment of wastes.