The new Krusevac wastewater treatment plant recovers sludge into energy

A newly built wastewater treatment plant in the Serbian town of Krusevac produces biogas. This is a new approach for a country that still dumps most of its wastewater directly into rivers.

Before the construction of the 24 million euro factories, the city dumped its wastewater directly into the Western Morava River. Now things are different.

Described by local media as one of the most modern installations of its kind, it now turns the remaining sludge into biogas which can then be used to generate electricity or heat.

The sludge is dried in the sun in a large greenhouse-shaped structure. When dried, the sludge resembles lignite and can be used as a source of energy.

From sludge to biogas

“The facility is equipped with the most advanced technology that uses the anaerobic digestion process to treat the sludge. The sludge releases biogas which is then stored in a tank and transformed via a gas generator into electrical and thermal energy, ”explains Vladimir Milosavljevic, director of the utility company Vodovod Krusevac, explains the process.

The city’s public heating company, Toplana Krusevac, is also reportedly working on using the treated sludge as a fuel source.

Officials from the Serbian Chamber of Commerce said the new project is proof that a circular economy goes hand in hand with environmental protection and the concept of “green cities”.

Other wastewater treatment plants to come

Although Serbia is not currently a member of the European Union, it will have to align its environmental protections with EU standards as part of the accession negotiation process. So far, Serbia has not opened chapter 27 of the environmental negotiations.

Turning waste into energy while preventing pollution of rivers could bring the country closer together.

Similar approaches to waste management may soon be adopted in other cities. The European Union will finance – with 13 million euros from the instrument for pre-accession assistance – the reconstruction of a factory in Blace and the construction of a new one in Brus.

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