European Union Green Deal and the Opportunity Cost of Wastewater Treatment Projects

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The European Union Green Deal aims at curbing greenhouse gas emissions and introducing clean energy production. But to achieve energy efficiency, the opportunity cost of different energies must be assessed. In this article, two different energy self-sufficient systems for wastewater treatment are compared. On the one hand, high-rate algal ponds system (HRAP) is considered; on the other hand, a conventional activated sludge system (AS) which uses photovoltaic power (PV) is studied. The paper offers a viability analysis of both systems based on the capacity to satisfy their energetic consumption. This viability analysis, along with the opportunity cost study, will be used in the article to compare these two projects devoted to the treatment of wastewater. In order to assess viability, the probability of not achieving the energy consumption threshold at least one day is studied. The results point that the AS+PV system self-sufficiency is achieved with much lesser land requirements than the HRAP system (for the former, less than 6500 m2 , for the latter 40,000 m2 ). However, the important AS capital cost makes still the HRAP system more economic, although storage provides a great advantage for using the AS+PV in locations where a lot of irradiance is available.