Wastewater Management and Solar Energy

The major objectives of the programme were, firstly, to introduce and provide relevant information about the new approach to the wastewater management, and, secondly, to present and share Slovenian experience as well as the world best practices in the field of solar energy. Additionally, program aims to familiarize the participants with development of new technology and concrete solutions of the wastewater treatments, raise the awareness towards the environment, both in dealing with wastewater management and solar energy and energy efficiency, introduce with the concept of solar energy and its possible usage for variety of purposes, present technological and technical solutions for solar energy that are used in Slovenia and have already been implemented in other regions worldwide and enhance appropriate usage of water and energy resources which will contribute to the wealth of local communities.

Stable access to clean water and energy at affordable prices is the part of basic needs of all. Despite this, even fast economic expansion and advancement of education and technology does not ensure that these needs are met in many countries. On one hand, inappropriate or absent wastewater management deteriorates drinking water sources and natural environment and endangers human health. While on the other, environmentally and economically unsustainable usage of traditional resources for energy production, limited access to the electricity in remote and rural areas, and underexplored available renewable resources creates significant threat to sustain economic growth and rising living standards of the population.

The first training on this topic was held on 10 – 15 February 2014 with support of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID). Eleven participants from Egypt, Sudan, Senegal and Mali have taken part in this international pilot training on Wastewater management and Solar Energy. In the five days participants focused on the wastewater management topic, in particular research, development and application of natural ecosystems for the protection and restoration of the environment, the initial research in the field of aquatic ecosystems and development of wastewater treatment by constructed wetlands (CW) can be extended to the provision of sustainable solutions to the environmental problems arising from human activities, the legislation guidelines for wastewater treatment in the European Union and introduced the evolution of this legislation and regulations that are required to comply with at the European level.

Also, the topic on wastewater treatment with microalgae, which, compared to plants in wastewater treatment have a lot of advantages and are therefore suitable for a wide range of use, from the treatment of biofuels to pharmaceuticals was explored. Moreover, participants visited several already constructed wetlands that which act as a bio filter, removing sediments and pollutants such as heavy metals from the water. Finally, the participants visited two the most advanced technological ICPE companies where they were introduced to innovations with the emphasis on efficient use of renewable energy sources such as smart grids and energy storage solutions and how these innovative hardware and software solutions can be applied to enhance effectiveness in the wastewater treatment and ensuring accessibility to the drinking water particularly in remote areas as well as in centralised and decentralised setting were discussed.