Treated Sewage Effluent is the way forward for District Cooling in the region
DC Pro Engineering UAE, a leading authority in the field of District Energy in the world and renowned sustainability leader in the field of Green Building MEP Designs in the region, has pushed for the use of Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) for District Cooling applications.
According to George Berbari, CEO of DC Pro Engineering, one of the key speakers at the International Water Summit that took place on 19-22 January 2015 at Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Centre, the use of TSE can reach capital costs that are six times cheaper than that of desalinated sea water and three times cheaper than that of desalinated well water via a reverse osmosis (RO) plant.
“Due to lower costs, environmental concerns, and the scarcity of fresh water in an arid region such as the GCC, we at DC Pro Engineering are advocating for the use of TSE in District Cooling as an alternative to fresh water,” Berbari said. “While operating costs may vary tremendously depending on the power / ton requirement in a specific region, TSE operating costs are approximately just 20% of the cost of using sea water and 30% of the cost of using well water.”
“Due to this, the percentage of desalinated sea water use in the District Cooling industry in the GCC is a mere 5% and the use of desalinated well water is negligible,” he added. He further noted that TSE use in District Cooling today is about 40% and rising.
“At the moment, fresh water use is declining especially in countries where strict regulations were passed on the mandatory use of TSE in District Cooling. The governments of countries such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, as well as the emirates of Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE have played a major role in this,” Berbari explained.
“Currently, District Cooling in the emirate of Abu Dhabi operates on approximately 100% TSE, while Dubai is at 30% and rising,” he added. “Qatar will be at a full 100% within 2015 and Saudi Arabia is fast rising at 60%. Within the next two to three years, TSE will be a must in the District Cooling industry and will roughly be within 70% of all District Cooling plants in the GCC region.”
District Cooling typically uses cooling towers with fresh water make up as the most convenient method of Heat Rejection. However, due to the fresh water supply challenges, regulations, costs, lack of drainage for blow-down and other environmental concerns, the use of desalinated sea water, desalinated well water and TSE became an appealing alternative. Among the three, TSE has proven to be the most cost-effective solution and has been the alternative adopted by governments and regulators.