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Severn Trent starts work on £20M food waste plant

Work is underway on Severn Trent's new food waste and green gas plant at the company’s site in Spondon, Derby.

Work underway at SpondonWork underway at Spondon

The utility is investing around £20M in the plant, which will turn 50,000 tonnes of food waste a year into renewable gas that will be pumped into the distribution network.

Engineering firm Jones Celtic BioEnergy has been awarded the contract to build the new anaerobic digestion plant. It will be similar in design to the company’s existing food waste plant in Coleshill and another which is nearing completion in Roundhill near Stourbridge.

Peter Ravenscroft, who is leading the project, said: “We’re really excited to see work underway on what will be our third food waste site.

“The plant will take waste food from local businesses and waste management companies in the Derby area and process it to produce biomethane, which is a gas suitable for injection into the local gas network and which can then be used in homes and businesses across the area.

“The process also makes sure that the food waste doesn’t end up going to landfill and any packaging that we remove at the plant will be sent for recycling.

“We’ve got more than 60 years of experience of turning sewage into clean energy, and we’re now putting that to good use in our food waste plants.”

The company, which serves eight million people across the Midlands and mid-Wales, has invested heavily in renewable energy in recent years and is now developing this expertise to generate clean power.

The food waste plant will use innovative technology that replicates the process of a human body, by digesting food to turn it into gas that can be used in homes and businesses in the Derby area.

The gas is made suitable for domestic use with a process which involves some complex engineering techniques where it is washed, squashed, tested and injected.

The gas is ‘washed’ at high pressure, it is then ‘squashed’, or compressed, so it is at the same pressure as natural gas and is then ‘tested’ for quality. Finally, an odour is added so it smells like normal gas. Testing also includes a review of the energy composition of the gas.

Once that has been done, it is finally ‘injected’ into the gas supply network.

Ravenscroft added: “We currently generate the equivalent of more than a third of the energy we use through renewable sources, and we’re aiming to increase that to 50 per cent by 2020.

“If everything goes to plan we expect the new food waste plant in Spondon to be in use by the middle of 2018 and it will have a big impact on helping us reach that ambitious target.”

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Energy/Water Nexus
Tags: food waste , anaerobic digestion , gas , energy

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