Carbon footprint assessment of Western Australian Groundwater Recycling Scheme
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This research has determined the carbon footprint or the carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq) of potable water production from a groundwater recycling scheme, consisting of the Beenyup wastewater treatment plant, the Beenyup groundwater replenishment trial plant and the Wanneroo groundwater treatment plant in Western Australia, using a life cycle assessment approach. It was found that the scheme produces 1300 tonnes of CO2 eq per gigalitre (GL) of water produced, which is 933 tonnes of CO2 eq higher than the desalination plant at Binningup in Western Australia powered by 100% renewable energy generated electricity. A Monte Carlo Simulation uncertainty analysis calculated a Coefficient of Variation value of 5.4%, thus confirming the accuracy of the simulation. Electricity input accounts for 83% of the carbon dioxide equivalent produced during the production of potable water. The chosen mitigation strategy was to consider the use of renewable energy to generate electricity for carbon intensive groundwater replenishment trial plant. Depending on the local situation, a maximum of 93% and a minimum of 21% greenhouse gas saving from electricity use can be attained at groundwater replenishment trial plant by replacing grid electricity with renewable electricity. In addition, the consideration of vibrational separation (V-Sep) that helps reduce wastes generation and chemical use resulted in a 4.03 tonne of CO2 eq saving per GL of water produced by the plant.
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