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Kazakhstan Wastewater Biogas Recovery Initiative 

The Kazakhstan Ministry of Energy, Department of Renewable Energy, is interested in developing an initiative to analyze the potential for biogas recovery and utilization in the municipal wastewater treatment sector. The initial work is being undertaken with the collaboration of the Global Methane Initiative (GMI) and includes technical analyses, benchmarking against international norms and best practices, identification of the cost-effectiveness of biogas recovery, developing policy recommendations and regulatory initiatives, and supporting technical training of wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) operators.

The Department of Renewable Energy also considers this effort as a proxy for developing broader support for biogas utilization, including in solid waste disposal and agricultural waste, in the context of renewable energy development and emissions reductions.

In support of this effort, the following actions are being undertaken:

Stakeholders Meeting: The convening of a one-day meeting of high-level decision-makers to review existing knowledge and activities in biogas production and utilization, and present current efforts in the municipal wastewater sector. International experiences were presented to contribute to a better understanding of what may be possible in Kazakhstan. This meeting took place in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan on 3 April 2019.

Pre-feasibility Studies: A technical team from the U.S. and Kazakhstan, organized by the engineering company Tetra Tech, and sponsored by GMI, will carry out technical and economic pre-feasibility studies at two selected wastewater treatment plants representative of the WWTP sector in Kazakhstan (a large plant in the North and a medium-sized plant in the South), focusing on the technologies and costs of methane capture and utilization. Four plants were visited in early April 2019, and detailed data from the two plants will be used to carry out the pre-feasibility analysis. Results will be presented at the Water Expo Central Asia 2019 on 29-30 May 2019.

Technical Training Workshop: A workshop for WWTP operators will focus on the techniques and technologies for biogas recovery, and preliminary costs for such designs. The workshop will be based on international best practices in the context of the WWTP sector in Kazakhstan, and will include the results of the pre-feasibility studies based on local data. Calculation exercises will assist in underlining key technical parameters. The Technical Training Workshop will be held in Almaty on 28 May 2019.

Conference Presentation: The results of the pre-feasibility studies and the implications for the WWTP sector in Kazakhstan will be summarized in a key presentation at the Water Expo Central Asia 2019.

Legislative and Regulatory Roadmap: The Department of Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy recognizes the need to provide regulatory certainty, and possible incentives, for biogas projects to move forward in Kazakhstan. With this in mind, it is undertaking a roadmap exercise that will identify and prioritize concrete actions to promote legal and regulatory support for biogas. With GMI’s assistance, this roadmap will focus on biogas from municipal wastewater as a proxy for broader biogas generation, including from solid waste and agricultural activities. The roadmap effort will include:

  • Analysis of strategic documents, such as the national and regional development programs, the promotion of a “green economy” in Kazakhstan, greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments, and others.
  • Analysis of renewable energy legislation and promotion, especially with respect to biogas.
  • Analysis of legislation dealing with wastewater, solid wastes, agricultural wastes and related topics.
  • Analysis of existing distribution of responsibilities and powers of state bodies related to the coordination of the biogas industry and the identification of gaps.
  • Review of existing tools and mechanisms that the state has to stimulate and promote recovery and utilization of biogas.
  • Review of international experiences in the regulation and promotion of biogas.
  • Development of a series of action plans and responsibilities of stakeholders to detail and implement them.

The Action Plans and other results of the roadmap effort will be presented at the Water Expo Central Asia 2019, providing participants the opportunity to consult with decision-makers and stakeholders on the activities recommended.

The Department of Renewable Energy is working with a broad range of stakeholders throughout the related sectors in Kazakhstan. This includes other ministries, such as Industry, Agriculture and Finance; wastewater management agencies; NGOs promoting renewable energy and biogas; academia; and the private sector. International development agencies also are kept apprised of this work.

There will be pre-feasibility studies in two selected wastewater plants, most likely in Nur-Sultan and Taldykorgan. Other activities, such as the Stakeholders Meeting and the Technical Training, will be organized at the national level.

Expected Outcomes

Development of a roadmap that will identify and prioritize concrete actions to promote legal and regulatory support for biogas use in Kazakhstan.

Preparation and distribution of a report that will document the results of the technical and economic prefeasibility studies; the report will focus on the technologies and costs of methane capture and utilization at two representative WWTPs in Kazakhstan.

Improving in-country capacity in biogas based on participation of WWTP operators and other stakeholders in a technical training workshop. Participants will gain knowledge about the techniques and technologies for biogas recovery, and preliminary costs for such designs, which will increase the likelihood of biogas use from WWTP.

Increased awareness of the potential for biogas use from WWTPs by sharing technical expertise at a meeting of high-level decision-makers to review existing knowledge and activities in biogas production and utilization, and present current efforts in the municipal wastewater sector.