Sewage flakes, a highly combustible new renewable form of fuel that burns like woodchips, are being used for the first time to generate electricity for Britain’s largest water and sewerage company.
Thames Water has begun producing the flakes by drying sludge (sewage solids) in a purpose-built machine at sewage works in Slough, Berkshire. (Also well known as the setting for the original BBC series “The Office.“) The flakes are then taken by lorry to Crossness sewage works in Bexley, south-east London, where they are burnt off to generate electricity.
16 Percent Of This Year’s Energy From Sewage
Thames Water estimates that 16 percent of its electricity needs will be covered in the current fiscal year by so-called poo power, which is enough to run about 40,000 average family homes.
Until now, the sludge dryer had been used to reduce waste simply to get rid of it more conveniently. The dryer promises to reduce the firm’s carbon emissions by more than 500 ton a year, as well as bringing up to £300,000 a year of operational cost benefits.
First Time In Britain
From The Guardian:
Rupert Kruger, Thames Water’s head of innovation, said: “This is the first time in Britain that a waste dryer has been used to create ready-to-burn fuel from sewage sludge, rather than simply being used as a waste-reducer. This innovative approach demonstrates our clear intent to help move Britain towards becoming a low-carbon economy by unlocking every ounce of renewable energy potential from waste.”
A further 20 sewage works, including Slough, generate electricity by burning biomethane gas from sewage, a process know as combined heat and power.
Perhaps the next hit show from Britain will feature the workers at a sludge dryer in Slough?
Photo Credit: weezgrrl
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