Many nations are investing in new technology to turn sewage waste into usable energy. Japan has recently revised its Sewerage Law to respond to the growing consciousness of energy-saving and recycling methods, The Japan News reported.
Japan's sewage system covers roughly 80 percent of the land area where most people live, through approximately 279 miles of pipelines. The Japanese Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism Ministry said there's certainly no lack of sewage in the country and that the issue is persistent.
For that specific reason, the nation's leaders have implemented new technology to use sewage as a form of renewable energy. Through the new law, many energy experts believe the country will have even more reason to move toward renewable energy options with the variety of sewage treatment equipment available. In fact, there is a current system in place in a terrace building that uses heat-exchanger equipment to generate energy.
How the sewage treatment works
Through a massive heat pump, sewage is pulled into a processing center and given a heat treatment via shell and tube heat exchangers. Once this is completed, the energy produced from the process can be reallocated to heat or cool the 32-story building, the Tokyo Sewage Bureau explained, according to The Japan News.
"Sewage renewable energy systems help cities when power surges occur on the grid."
While this process is energy-efficient and actually generates new power, many other facilities around the world tend to burn sewage sludge to get rid of it, the Capital New York reported. In Albany, New York, city officials installed an $8.6 million power generator to turn sewage at the wastewater plant into harnessed energy.
Rich Lyons, executive director of the North Wastewater Treatment Plant located in Menands, New York, said the systems saves taxpayers roughly $400,000 a year and can supply approximately 75 percent of the plant's energy through the disposal process, the source reported.
"It virtually is power from the people," said Lyons. "Sewage sludge is a renewable energy. It's always available."
John Rhodes, president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said new energy systems like this one help cities in critical times when power surges occur on the grid. Events like Hurricane Sandy still linger for those on the East Coast, and having additional power in a time of need could be truly helpful.
The amount of sewage could significantly help generate power and provide energy to homes across the world.