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Generating power from wastewater

|3 February 2017|


UK water company set to generate more of its electricity from sewage

Leading global resource management company – Veolia – is installing new combined heat and power (CHP) engines at three of Southern Water’s treatment works. The work will save around 3,600 tonnes of COemissions each year and is part of Southern Water’s wider project to generate even more renewable energy by upgrading CHP units at five of its sites.

These CHP will now deliver around 48.3GWh of renewable electricity each year, taking pressure off the local electricity infrastructure and saving 8,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions – equivalent to the output from nearly 5,800 cars.

Biogas, captured by anaerobic digestion from the wastewater treatment processes is used as a fuel, and will provide the electricity needed to power the wastewater treatment operations, with the surplus being fed to the Grid.

Gavin Graveson, Veolia’s COO Public and Commercial said: “Recent estimates show that biogas from the sludge resource could deliver an estimated 1,697GWh each year – enough electricity to power over half a million homes. This latest extension of the use of CHP by Southern Water clearly demonstrates its commitment to further the sustainability of the water industry.”

Around 190 UK wastewater sites now produce biogas to generate electricity which is used on site or exported to the national grid. Today, the potential power from human sewage in the UK could now keep around fourteen million LED/LCD TVs or ten million game consoles running constantly.

Martin Ross, Southern Water Energy Manager, added: “We currently generate 17% of our electricity from 16 CHP sites. The capturing of biogas is a double win because not only do we collect free fuel but we also prevent the release of methane which has a global-warming potential 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.”

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Written By

Iain is a creative writer, journalist and lecturer, and formerly an editor of two international business publications. Iain is now editor of Innovators Magazine, as well as the strategic content director for OnePoint5Media.


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