Use of energy-efficient belt thickeners

Use of energy-efficient belt thickeners from SÜLZLE KLEIN at the Wupperverband’s Buchenhofen wastewater treatment plant

The Wupper Association was founded in 1930 with the aim of fulfilling water management tasks in the 813 km² catchment area of the Wupper beyond municipal boundaries. The association operates a total of 14 dams, 11 sewage treatment plants, a sludge incineration plant and other facilities, e.g. flood retention basins and rainwater basins. It maintains a total of over 2,000 kilometres of rivers and streams. Association members are cities and municipalities, districts, water supply companies, industry and commerce in the Wupper region.

The Wupper Association’s sewage treatment plant in Buchenhofen is one of the largest in North Rhine-Westphalia, with a capacity of 600,000 population equivalents.

As part of the optimisation of sludge treatment, two of a total of four energy-intensive centrifuges, which were previously used to thicken excess sludge, were replaced by two new, energy-saving belt thickeners from SÜLZLE KLEIN.

This measure enables the Wupperverband to save around 180,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per month. This amounts to 2.16 million kilowatt hours per year. This is roughly equivalent to the annual consumption of 540 four-person households.

The Buchenhofen sewage treatment plant, the largest plant of the Wupper Association, requires about 14.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year for wastewater treatment. Through renewable energies such as sewage gas, which is used in combined heat and power plants to generate electricity and heat, as well as the hydropower plant at the site, the association generates about eleven million kilowatt hours of electricity per year at the Buchenhofen sewage treatment plant.

At present, the association can cover about three quarters of its energy needs through its own generation. For 2023, it has set itself the goal that the Buchenhofen sewage treatment plant will then generate more electricity itself than it consumes, i.e. the plant can be operated in an “energy-positive” manner.

The challenge for SÜLZLE KLEIN in this project was that the entire machine technology had to be delivered and commissioned within only 5 months. During the award process, SÜLZLE KLEIN was able to prevail over its market competitors, particularly in the area of delivery time.

We are very pleased that SÜLZLE KLEIN was even able to commission the plant well ahead of the advised deadline.  In June 2022, the belt thickeners were installed and connected in the wastewater treatment plant within only ten working days.

By using the two new solidXdrain AM 1-20 belt thickeners, including the peripherals, SÜLZLE KLEIN was able to support the Buchenhofen wastewater treatment plant in becoming energy-positive.

Watch the video from “Wupperverband” on YouTube:


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Facts and figures about the belt thickener:

40 - 100 m³/h

Thickener capacity

ca. 0,8 %

Input TR:

5 % TR

Output TR:

To the references