Century Pump Station Embodied Energy Comparison


Traditionally, concrete has been the default material for pump station wet wells. However, as concrete infrastructure projects reach the end of their service life sooner than expected, demand has grown for more durable pump station replacements and new project installations.

Wastewater is particularly corrosive to concrete; sulfate attacks lead to cracks and spalling, which is why concrete wet wells are coming to the end of their service life after only 30 years of operation. Polymeric materials have been at the forefront of improvements to the durability of pump stations. Apptech’s patented Structurally Reinforced Thermoplastic (SRTP) Century Pump Station (with an HDPE Weholite wet well) delivers cost-effectiveness through its durability and reduced environmental impact. The Century’s double-walled HDPE wet well is engineered for burial and is estimated to last approximately 100 years or more— even in harsh wastewater conditions. The long service life and minimal material usage of the SRTP wet well make for a cost effective and environmentally low-impact pump station.

How is environmental impact measured?

Embodied Energy is the energy consumed by the processes required for the production of materials, including the mining and processing of natural resources, manufacturing, and transport.

Embodied carbon is the sum of the carbon dioxide and equivalent greenhouse gasses emitted during the manufacturing, transport, and construction of materials, including the end of life emissions.

How does the Century compare to typical concrete designs? According to the University of Bath’s Inventory of Carbon and Energy (ICE), the embodied energy of concrete is 3450 MJ/m3 embodied carbon is 414 kgCO2e/m3 while the embodied energy of HDPE is 72800 MJ/m3 and the embodied carbon is 1834 kgCO2e/m3. While, on a per-volume basis, concrete has less of an environmental impact, not all is as it seems:

  1. HDPE wins by the material economy. The fracture toughness of HDPE is 4 ksi/in0.5 while that of concrete is only 0.7 ksi/in0.5.  HDPE’s greater toughness means that SRTP wet wells use a twelfth of the material of a comparable concrete wet well.
  2. HDPE outlasts concrete: in the ~100 service life of a CENTURY Pump Station, a concrete pump station will have to be replaced twice, resulting increased lifecycle cost.

As a result, 1.8 times less energy goes into one Apptech Century Pump Station, designed to last 100 years, compared to the energy put into the 3 concrete pump stations needed to last the same period of time. Moreover, the Century Pump Station emits 7.6 times less equivalent carbon dioxide emissions compared to the concrete alternative. Finally, since cost and energy efficiency go hand in hand, Apptech’s Century Pump Station is the lower-cost option in when comparing over the entire service life.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for free access to our example embodied energy and carbon calculations for pump stations Apptech has built.

Embodied Energy Infographic

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