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Transient and persistent energy efficiency in the wastewater sector based on economic foundations

Longo, Stefano, Chitnis, Mona, Mauricio-Inglesias, Miguel and Hospido, Almudena (2020) Transient and persistent energy efficiency in the wastewater sector based on economic foundations The Energy Journal.

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Given the increasing importance of the wastewater sector in terms of energy usage, the understanding of the level of energy efficiency of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is useful to both the industry itself as well as policy makers. Here, based on economic foundations, we apply a Stochastic Frontier Analysis (SFA) approach for energy demand modelling to estimate energy efficiency in the wastewater sector. Using specific SFA models and panel data from 183 Swiss WWTPs over the period 2001 to 2015, the paper illustrates that distinguishing between persistent and transient inefficiency is essential to deduce appropriate energy efficiency diagnosis in WWTPs. In this respect, persistent energy inefficiency is found to be more severe than transient energy inefficiency. Furthermore, it is shown that the age of the equipment influences the demand for energy and the energy savings due to technological innovation are quantified. Finally, economies of output density and scale are estimated demonstrating that for plants operating below optimal scale significant energy savings can be achieved if plants would be operated at higher size. Instead, our analysis reveals also that for plants larger than 100000 Population Equivalent, at least from an energy efficiency point of view, it would be no more beneficial to increase their scale.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Economics
Authors :
Longo, Stefano
Mauricio-Inglesias, Miguel
Hospido, Almudena
Date : 19 January 2020
Funders : Galician Competitive Research Group, CRETUS strategic partnership
Projects : European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme
Uncontrolled Keywords : Stochastic frontier analysis; energy efficiency; energy demand; benchmarking; wastewater treatment; water diagnosis
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 20 Feb 2020 15:41
Last Modified : 20 Feb 2020 15:41

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