Energy Productivity Analysis of Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plants: A Data Envelopment Analysis Approach

Document Type: Original Article


Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran


Currently, the efficiency improvement of industrial wastewater treatment plant (IWWTP) has turned into a noticeable challenge for plants operator. In addition, decreasing the cost and energy consumption of wastewater treatment plants has attracted great interest by water agencies and IWWTP operators. Since IWWTPs are energy-intensive facilities, the need for cost-efficient and reliable treatment processes has significantly increased so as to meet the standards of environmental regulations and national goals. Determination of energy efficiency of IWWTPs is a starting point for any energy-saving initiative. In this paper, a case study has been carried out in 79 WWTPs in Iran's industrial zones to identify electrical energy efficiency indices (EEI). In order to achieve a reliable result, Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) was applied by Lingo11 software. The electrical energy efficiency index was estimated by regression equations for plants with different level of treatment (ready to discharge to the river, irrigation of green spaces, and agriculture) using Minitab17 software. The obtained results enable IWWTP operators to identify the cost items to improve the productivity at plants.


1.     Macuada, C.J., A.M. Oddershede, and R. Alarcon, 2015. Multi-criteria assessment to automate water treatment plants using the analytical hierarchy process. Journal for Global Business Advancement, 8(2): 236-246.

2.     Macuada, C. and A. Oddershede, 2014. Analytic hierarchy process to assess technological system in water treatment plants. International Journal of the Analytic Hierarchy Process, Washington DC, USA, 1-5.

3.     Lofrano, G. and J. Brown, 2010. Wastewater management through the ages: A history of mankind. Science of the Total Environment, 408(22): 5254-5264.

4.     Descoins, N., S., Deleris, R., Lestienne, E., Trouvé, and F., Maréchal, 2012. Energy efficiency in waste water treatments plants: Optimization of activated sludge process coupled with anaerobic digestion. Energy, 41(1): 153-164.

5.     Bell, K. and S. Abel, 2011. Optimization of WWTP aeration process upgrades for energy efficiency. Water Practice and Technology, 6(2): 2011-2024.

6.     Brandt, M., R., Middleton, G., Wheale, and F., Schulting, 2011. Energy efficiency in the water industry, a global research project. Water Practice and Technology, 6(2): 2011-2028.

7.     Singh, P., C. Carliell-Marquet, and A. Kansal, 2012. Energy pattern analysis of a wastewater treatment plant. Applied Water Science, 2(3): 221-226.

8.     Li, D., T., Nanseki, Y., Chomei, and S., Yokota, 2018. Production efficiency and effect of water management on rice yield in Japan: two-stage DEA model on 110 paddy fields of a large-scale farm. Paddy and Water Environment, 16(4): 643-654.

9.     Molinos-Senante, M., G., Gémar, T., Gómez, R., Caballero, and R., Sala-Garrido, 2016. Eco-efficiency assessment of wastewater treatment plants using a weighted Russell directional distance model. Journal of Cleaner Production, 137: 1066-1075.

10.   Cooper, W.W., L.M. Seiford, and K. Tone, 2006. Introduction to data envelopment analysis and its uses: with DEA-solver software and references, Springer Science & Business Media.

11.   Sala-Garrido, R., M. Molinos-Senante, and F. Hernández-Sancho, 2012. How does seasonality affect water reuse possibilities? An efficiency and cost analysis. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 58: 125-131.

12.   Hernández-Sancho, F., M. Molinos-Senante, and R. Sala-Garrido, 2011. Energy efficiency in Spanish wastewater treatment plants: a non-radial DEA approach. Science of the Total Environment, 409(14): 2693-2699.

13.   Torregrossa, D., G., Schutz, A., Cornelissen, F., Hernández-Sancho, and J., Hansen, 2016. Energy saving in WWTP: daily benchmarking under uncertainty and data availability limitations. Environmental research, 148: 330-337.

14.   Sultan, W.I. and J. Crispim, 2018. Measuring the efficiency of Palestinian public hospitals during 2010–2015: an application of a two-stage DEA method. BMC health services research, 18(1): 381-397.

15.   Rojas, J. and T. Zhelev, 2012. Energy efficiency optimisation of wastewater treatment: Study of ATAD. Computers & Chemical Engineering, 38: 52-63.

16.   Tchobanoglous, G., F.L., Burton, and H.D., Stensel, 2003. Wastewater engineering: treatment and reuse. Boston, US: McGraw-Hill Higher Education.

17.   Kalbar, P.P., S. Karmakar, and S.R. Asolekar, 2012. Selection of an appropriate wastewater treatment technology: A scenario-based multiple-attribute decision-making approach. Journal of environmental management, 113: 158-169.

18.   Qiu, Y., J., Li, X., Huang, and H., Shi, 2018. A Feasible Data-Driven Mining System to Optimize Wastewater Treatment Process Design and Operation. Water, 10(10): 1342-1356.

19.   Saghafi, S., N., Mehrdadi, G., Nabi Bid Hendy, and H., Amini Rad, 2015. Energy efficiency in wastewater treatment plant emphasizing on COD removal: a case study of Amol Industrial Zone, Iran. Canadian Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences, 9(2): 3441-3448.

20.   Guerrini, A., G. Romano, and A. Indipendenza, 2017. Energy efficiency drivers in wastewater treatment plants: a double bootstrap DEA analysis. Sustainability, 9(7): 1126.

21.   Marchi, M., V., Niccolucci, R.M., Pulselli, and N., Marchettini, 2018. Environmental policies for GHG emissions reduction and energy transition in the medieval historic centre of Siena (Italy): The role of solar energy. Journal of Cleaner Production, 185: 829-840.

22.   Odey, E.A., Z., Li, X. Zhou, and L., Kalakodio, 2017. Fecal sludge management in developing urban centers: a review on the collection, treatment, and composting. Environmental Science and Pollution Research, 24(30): 23441-23452.

23.   Stevenson, F., 2018. Embedding building performance evaluation in UK architectural practice and beyond. Building Research & Information, 1-13.

24.   Bobek, V. and A. Maček, 2017. Regional Analysis for European Structural and Investment Funds on the Case of Slovenia-Austria Cross-Border Cooperation 2014–2020, in Management of Cities and Regions, InTech.

25.   Kollmann, R., G., Neugebauer, F., Kretschmer, B., Truger, H., Kindermann, G., Stoeglehner, T., Ertl, and M., Narodoslawsky, 2017. Renewable energy from wastewater-Practical aspects of integrating a wastewater treatment plant into local energy supply concepts. Journal of cleaner production, 155: 119-129.

26.   García-Cebrián, L.I., F., Zambom-Ferraresi, and F., Lera-López, 2018. Efficiency in European football teams using WindowDEA: analysis and evolution. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 67(9): 2126-2148.

27.           Castellet, L. and M. Molinos-Senante, 2016. Efficiency assessment of wastewater treatment plants: A data envelopment analysis approach integrating technical, economic, and environmental issues. Journal of environmental management, 167: 160-166.