EU Green Deal and opportunity cost: a comparison between the viability of different wastewater treatment project
The European Union Green Deal aims at curbing planet-warming 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, we analyse two different systems for the treatment of wastewater that, at the same time, produce energy for its own operation. On the one hand, high-rate algal ponds system (HRAP) is considered; on the other hand, we study a conventional activated sludge system which uses photovoltaic power (AS+PV). This paper offers a viability analysis of both systems based on the capacity to satisfy their energetic consumption. In order to assess this viability, the probability of not achieving the energy consumption threshold at least one day is studied. The results point that the AS+PV system selfsufficiency is achieved using much lesser surfaces than those of HRAP system (for the former, less than 6.500 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 we have a lot of irradiance. This viability analysis, along with the opportunity cost analysis, will be used to assess these two projects devoted to the treatment of wastewater.