Wastewater treatment plays a pivotal role in the protection of public and environmental health in urban precincts and in the recovery of scarce water and energy resources for an increasingly urban and growing global population. Yet wastewater treatment operations are among the most energy-intensive within urban precincts and so there is considerable scope to optimise wastewater treatment plants to improve their energy efficiency and reduce associated carbon emissions. One such approach used to realise energy efficiency savings is ‘energy benchmarking’ which is an approach whereby energy use key performance indicators are developed for a range of wastewater treatment plants and treatment processes and then used by industry to ‘benchmark’ current treatment process performance, and inform subsequent process optimisation requirements for future energy efficiency savings.
This project used a national wastewater treatment plant energy use dataset for some 244 treatment plants across Australia to develop a Benchmarking Energy and Carbon (BEC) tool, or data visualization dashboard for the Australian water industry to use in future energy efficiency assessments with the goal of driving future optimisation for energy and associated carbon emissions savings in the sector. The tool has been developed in the form of an intuitive internet-based Tableau dashboard, making it both highly accessible and user-friendly. At the expiry of this project, the tool currently exists in beta version format and further work will be undertaken by the project team to complete tool development activities and deliver it to the water industry’s peak body association (The Water Services Association of Australia) for broader dissemination to its water industry stakeholders.