Thames investigates energy from fatbergs
Thames Water has joined forces with renewables firm Argent Energy to investigate the possibility of transforming fats, oil and grease (FOG) from its network into environmentally-friendly fuel.
Under the plans, congealed blocks of FOG – commonly known as fatbergs - would be dug out of the sewers and transferred to a specialist plant, where they would be processed into bio-diesel while other unflushable items, such as baby wipes, would be disposed of.
Simon Brum, strategic recycling manager at Thames Water, said the scheme was a “no-brainer”.
“We have a problem with fatbergs, both in sewer networks and at sewage treatment centres,” said Brum. “Previously, what we’ve done is either extract the fatberg out of the pipes and send to landfill, or break it down and put it back through the system. Now we’re looking to see if we can use fatbergs in a clever way, and we’re working alongside Argent to do that.”
He said the project will run alongside the company’s ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign, which aims to prevent fatbergs building up in the sewers in the first place.
Brum added: “We’re not going to instantly change everyone’s behaviour of binning things rather than flushing them – we’ve got to deal with the problem. We’re talking to field treatment works to get a better idea of where these fatbergs are, and if it is possible to use them. It’s about taking it out of the supply.
“Let’s be clever, remove them, and then do something good for the environment.”
If the plan works, it is hoped in the longer term that the bio-diesel produced could be used to power buses in the Thames Water area.
Heather Swinbank, UK sourcing manager at Argent, added: “We always encourage people to dispose of items correctly, but what we’re saying is if there is a fatberg there, let’s be clever about it. We want to make renewable fuel from waste, and are hoping to create a renewable and sustainable service.”
- CCWater ensures ‘robust' complaints process for Thames Tideway The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) is working with Thames Water on a “sound and robust” complaints procedure for... Read More >
- Sewer blockages cost water firms £70M last year Around £70M was spent by water companies in England and Wales during 2013-14 to clear more than 300,000 sewer blockages,... Read More >
- Thames Water consults customers over drinking recycled sewage Using recycled sewage as drinking water; transferring water from the North; or building a new reservoir are three schemes... Read More >
- Gasification of Sludge: Innovation in Action Yorkshire Water's advanced thermal conversion (ATC) gasification plant at Lower Brighouse WWTW has achieved a timely... Read More >
- Powering the pumps: electric or diesel? The question of which power source to use for portable pump sets can be a difficult one, with both electric and diesel... Read More >
- Reducing harmonics with passive filters or active front-end drives Harmonics in the electrical systems of operators can be addressed by front-end drives or passive filters, with each having... Read More >
- The new approach to energy efficiency Many pump systems are far less energy efficient than they appear to be, and optimising electrical systems is the key Read More >
- Round Table: Pumps and energy Performance monitoring supported by technology and condition-based maintenance are two of the key factors in optimising... Read More >
- Head of Tendering & Design Salary Range: Commensurate with roleThe Tendering & Design Department plays a critical role in turning customer enquiries in to fully costed... Read more here.
- Head of Operations Salary Range: Commensurate with role Head of Operations: The Head of Operations will be responsible for the successful day to day delivery... Read more here.
- Waste Water Network Manager c. £42,000 depending on skills and experience An exciting opportunity has arisen for the role of Wastewater Network Manager within the Asset... Read more here.
- Deputy Directors – multiple roles The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) is the independent economic and safety regulator for Britain’s railways, overseeing an industry that carried... Read more here.