Transporting and treating water requires a tremendous amount of energy (see Environmental Impacts). Stanford researchers are re-imagining the urban water system to save water, energy and money, including construction of a new treatment plant that uses energy extracted from wastewater and to power the grid. Engineers are also developing low-cost ways to extract nitrogen from wastewater at central plants, and use the nitrogen to improve the efficiency of biogas combustion. Other researchers are looking for ways to recover energy, nutrients and water from household and community-level sanitation systems.
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