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Case study

Sludge to Energy: An Environment-Energy-Economic Assessment of Methane Capture from Sludge in Xiangyang City, Hubei Province

Language
English
Countries and regions
China, East Asia and Pacific
Action area

Mitigation

Case summary

In response to the increasing volumes of liquid waste caused by rapid urbanization, China has invested heavily in wastewater treatment plants. These plants produce sludge, which, although harmful to human health and the environment, can be reused to generate energy and create other products. In 2011, Xiangyang City in Hubei Province, China, implemented a thermal hydrolysis and anaerobic digestion system that has successfully converted sludge waste into two commercial products—biogas and biochar—while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Notable findings and good practices from this case study are highlighted below.

  • A market-oriented approach to sludge treatment design improved project economics. Considering the market demand for biogas and biochar helped inform design choices.
  • Public-private cooperation ensured the project’s financial viability. The Xiangyang project used a build-own-operate approach, which made concessional financing available during the initial investment stage.
  • Well-designed sludge treatment produced multiple economic, energy, and environmental benefits, thereby helping Xiangyang City and Hubei Province contribute to achieving China’s climate and development goals.
Planning and implementation activity
Analysis and Data Collection, Developing and Implementing Policies and Measures, Financing Implementation
Institutions involved
Municipal government of Xiangyang, Yu Liang Zhou Waste Water Treatment Plant, World Resources Institute, KfW Bankengruppe of Germany, Export-Import Bank of China
Sectors and themes
Renewable Energy, Urban, Waste Management
Energy sub-sectors
Bioenergy
Source details
World Resources Institute (WRI)

Results supported byUNDPWorld Resources InstituteTransparency partnership