Thames Water turns sewage waste into ‘green’ energy

Scientists from Thames Water and University of Surrey have perfected the art of transforming sewage into green electricity at peak times.
This is part of efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and meet the UK’s net-zero target.
Thames Water aims to reach net-zero emissions by 2030 – 20 years before the UK government’s own target – and be carbon negative by 2040.
The water company worked with sustainability experts at the University of Surrey on a four-year project to boost the production of biogas from sewage, which can then be used to generate enough green electricity to power its sewage treatment sites during this peak period.
The research was successfully trialled at Thames Water’s Beddington sewage works in Croydon and is now standard practice at the site. If rolled out industry-wide, it will help make the UK’s electricity supply cleaner, greener, and more resilient at peak times when customers need it
Mauro Lafratta, of Thames Water’s energy performance and change team, who led the project while an engineering student, said: “This solution can significantly reduce our operating costs, and help the country achieve carbon neutrality. This means better financial and operational resilience, better environmental protection and a better service for our customers.”
The innovation lies in how sewage sludge is fed into special ‘digesters’ where the biogas-producing process of anaerobic digestion takes place.

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