The European Union (EU) puts much emphasis on developing means of dealing with both global warming control and the energy market. For that reason the EU is committed to transforming Europe into a high energy-efficient and low greenhouse-gas-emitting economy and makes a firm independent commitment to achieve at least a 20% reduction of greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by 2020 compared to those in 1990. Moreover, within the framework of the Energy Policy for Europe, the European Council endorses the target of a 20% share of renewable energies in overall EU energy consumption by 2020.
Within this framework aimed to cut down GHG emissions by promoting energy efficiency and encouraging the use of renewable energies, a special effort has to be made with transport sector, since it currently contributes with the 25% of the global emissions. Hence, the International Energy Agency, the International Transport Forum, United Nations Environment Programme and FIA Foundation have just launched a ‘Global Fuel Economy Initiative’, with the overall objective of making cars 50% more fuel efficient by 2050. It is foreseen that, in order to achieve this goal, high efficient vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells will have to play an important role.
Thereby, wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) must not be seen just as industrial installations with certain potential to increase its energy efficiency, but also as producers of renewable energy and suppliers of hydrogen for the transport sector. All this may well be a fact in the future, since WWTP gather the necessary requirements to achieve it, such as availability of space to obtain renewable energy, plenty of water to produce hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis process, strategic geographical distribution to become effective hydrogen suppliers, possibility to make a profit with the obtained oxygen, etc.
GREENLYSIS Project is the first step towards this kind of WWTPs.