Three global water utilities unite for net-zero

Princes Pier, Melbourne. Image: Vince Russell, Unsplash

A global partnership of three major water utilities has launched to forge the next generation of sustainable wastewater treatment.

Denmark’s Aarhus Vand, Australia’s Melbourne Water and Severn Trent in the UK have joined forces to develop technologies and innovations to reduce the carbon footprint of wastewater sites to net zero. The partnership was launched at the World Water Congress & Exhibition in Copenhagen in September 2022, where the trio committed to working together to reduce their carbon emissions by around a million tonnes, aiming to lead the green transformation of the sector.

Projects will include:

  • Transforming one of Severn Trent’s sewage treatment works into a net-zero hub, which will test carbon neutral technologies on an industrial scale
  • Developing new techniques to measure and record nitrous oxide and methane releases from wastewater treatment, and establishing more accurate international measurement standards
  • Identifying ways to enhance wastewater treatment processes with green technology while reducing emissions
  • Creating a roadmap for the industry to achieve net-zero most efficiently, at the best value for customers.
Image: Ivan Bandura, Unsplash

"This international alliance feels like one of the most important moments for the sector in decades. Our pioneering collaboration will drive forward net-zero, create green solutions for the worldwide industry and protect our planet."

Liv Garfield, Severn Trent

Liv Garfield, chief executive of Seven Trent said, "This international alliance of water companies feels like one of the most exciting and important moments for the sector in decades. We share a vision and mission for the future — our pioneering collaboration will drive forward the net-zero agenda, create green solutions for the worldwide industry, and protect our planet.”

Claus Homann, Aarhus Vand's chief operations officer, said, “As water companies, we can take local - and contribute to global - initiatives, and it is urgent to create climate-neutral solutions.

“Together we can create and implement solutions, motivate and challenge each other but not least succeed faster and minimise risk. Radical innovation requires participants with great diversity, different expertise, curious, ambitious and trust-building - precisely the characteristics of our partners in the UK and Australia.”

Nerina Di Lorenzo, Melbourne Water managing director, said, "We are in the decade that matters when the actions we take now will define our future. We must also adapt our operations to prepare for a changing climate which is why we are passionate about this international alliance with Aarhus Vand and Severn Trent.

Projects already underway include Severn Trent led trials on ground-breaking technologies that monitor, capture, and break down nitrous oxide — the water industry’s most potent greenhouse gas — using the power of sunlight.