Life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas emission analysis for a water resource recovery facility in India

Leslie Miller-Robbie, Anu Ramaswami, Prasanna Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This paper quantifies life cycle energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) in India versus water quality improvements achieved from infrastructure investments. A first such analysis is conducted using operating data for a WRRF, which employs upflow anaerobic sludge blanket (UASB) reactors and oxidation. On-site operations energy use, process GHG emissions, and embodied energy in infrastructure were quantified. The analysis showed energy use and GHG emissions of 0.2 watt-hours (Wh) and 0.3 gram carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents per liter (gCO2e/L) wastewater treated, and 1.3 Wh and 2.1 gCO 2e/gBOD removed, achieving 81% biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and 99% fecal coliform removal annually. Process emissions of WRRFs contributed 44% of life cycle GHG emissions, similar in magnitude to those from electricity (46%), whereas infrastructure contributed 10%. Average WRRF-associated GHG emissions (0.9gCO2e/L) were lower than those expected if untreated wastewater was released to the river. Investments made by WRRFs in developing world cities improve water quality and may mitigate overall GHG emissions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-631
Number of pages11
JournalWater Environment Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Chemistry


  • Developing cities
  • Energy
  • Greenhouse gas
  • India
  • Life cycle
  • Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket
  • Wastewater treatment plant
  • Water resource recovery facility


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