Henriques, AA; Camanho, AS; Amorim, P; Silva, JG;
This paper develops a benchmarking framework to support performance-based sunshine regulation in the water sector. It uses benefit-of-the-doubt composite indicators formulated with a directional distance function. Weight restrictions are incorporated in the model to account for different perspectives in the performance assessment. The framework is tested using data of the Portuguese regulation authority concerning the activity of wastewater operators. The information obtained using this framework reflects overall performance at the firm level and complements traditional evaluations of regulatory authorities based on the analysis of individual indicators. The results can be used to disseminate best practices, motivate continuous improvement, and foster enhancements in the governance of regulated utilities.
Henriques, AA; Fontes, M; Camanho, A; Gabriel Silva, JG; Amorim, P;
JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION
In this paper, we propose an innovative approach to integrate the wastewater treatment (WWT) that is carried out in a set of plants and the anaerobic digestion (AD) that is carried out in a different set of plants, all from the same system. The aim is to contribute to sustainability improvements (e.g., cost reduction and environmental and social benefits) within the system. The main drivers that support this approach are the existence of unutilized capacity in some digesters and the possibility of reducing the process sludge age to maintain its biogas potential during the aerobic treatment in the plants without AD facilities. Furthermore, the effect of co-digestion as a means of enhancing the amount of biogas that can be produced through the sludge is also considered. This innovative approach leads to a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) model to optimize the sludge flows that connect the plants without AD facilities to the ones with anaerobic digesters. The developed approach was applied to a Portuguese water utility and the results provide new insights for an optimized sludge management process of WWTPs, also indicating that the economic benefit obtained from the proposed strategy for sludge management can lead to a reduction of up to 23.5% in terms of current energy costs. © 2020 Elsevier Ltd
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