On the eve of the World Water Day, at the 6th annual WEX Global Innovation Awards 2018 ceremony, held on 14 March in Lisbon, Portugal, the Sofia Wastewater Treatment Plant in Kubratovo was awarded for its significant contribution to the water supply and sewerage sector, with special emphasis on innovations in the reduction of the energy consumption and circular economy.
From the nine different competition categories at the prestigious world forum, Sofiyska Voda received the award Water & Waste Water Management, which is a recognition of innovation in sustainable water and wastewater management. The prize honours the high achievement of the company in the field of sustainable management of the water resources in the urban environment.
This prize reflects the achieved goal of Sofiyska Voda to manage the full water cycle of Sofia city with high quality of the services - water supply, sewerage and wastewater treatment, supplied to the citizens in Sofia. In order to implement all these activities the company manages a large number of energy-intensive assets, and in 2017 Sofiyska Voda consumed more than 25,400 MWh of electrical energy. The fact that more than 91% of the electricity required for the services within the water cycle is provided by the energy-independent WWTP is the main reason to place it among the innovative projects during the year in the field of circular economy.
“As part of Sofiyska Voda, we have been granted people’s trust to manage one of the most valuable natural resources – water. A great responsibility, which we and all colleagues are trying to fulfill in good faith. We have upgraded Sofia WWTP to be an example of circular economy in the country and I could proudly say in Eastern Europe, too. I can assure you that we appreciate highly this award as it reflects our long-lasting commitment to innovation, to being part of the natural environmental circle and last but not least, to our engagement towards society and especially Sofia’s citizens and its Municipality’s green goals. The award, received for innovation in Water & Waste Water Management for Sofia WWTP, I would like to dedicate to more than 1,100 employees of Sofiyska Voda, operated by Veolia. Without their unceasing efforts and strive for further development, we would not be where we currently are – on the way for the Sofia water cycle to be among the first fully energy-neutral water cycles in the world,” said Arnaud Valleteau, Executive Director of Sofiyska Voda, operated by Veolia.
Sofia WWTP has a design capacity of 1.3 million p.e. and treats more than 400,000 m3 of domestic and industrial wastewater daily up to the most stringent EU requirements (including nitrogen and phosphorus removal). The plant was commissioned in 1984 and historically consumed between 16,000 and 24,000 MWh of electricity annually. Following the installation of CHP units, in 2009 the energy produced annually in the plant rose from 1,500 MWh to 23,100 MWh in 2017. The measures implemented to reduce energy consumption led to an excess of 4,300 MWh in 2017, i.e. the plant produced 23% more energy than the needed for its operation. This progress was achieved through targeted initiatives, particularly in 2017, when the company commissioned new frequency-regulated air blowers for the biological treatment step, which increased the efficiency of the process by 11%. In parallel, a project for utilizing exhaust heat from the CHP installation was implemented and it added 570 KW to the installed capacity, which has been of great importance as an additional heat source to increase the temperature of the anaerobic digesters. This project has resulted in a 10% increase in the energy produced on site.