There’s a new renewable energy source in town and it’s coming from a surprising place: our sewage. In April, NovaThermal Energy, a Philadelphia-based company, installed a wastewater geothermal system at the Philadelphia Water Department’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. This is the first facility in the country to have a system of this kind.
Just like traditional geothermal technology, heat is transferred directly from the source (in this case, the sewage channel, not deep water wells) to heat the building.
While wastewater may not be as glamorous as solar or wind, it’s a valuable energy source; the system is expected to provide heat for approximately 50 percent of the current cost, which amounts to $18,100 savings annually. —Liz Pacheco