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Going green: Thames invests in THP plants

Thames Water is to spend £250M to install new thermal hydrolysis process plants (THP) to generate a fifth of its energy needs.

The company already generates 14% of its annual energy requirement from sewage using anaerobic digestion technologies and expects the percentage to increase to 20% with the installation of the THP plants at six of its sewage works.

THP plants heats sewage to around 160° C. The sludge then goes into existing anaerobic digesters to create biomethane gas.

Lawrence Gosden, the director of capital delivery at Thames Water, said: “We currently produce enough renewable electricity to run a city the size of Oxford, but by the time we install all this new THP we will be producing enough to run Oxford and the whole of Woking, in Surrey, too.

“This investment is good for the environment, our business and our customers. For as well as being environmentally friendly, generating energy from waste also reduces our running costs by protecting us from the price fluctuations of the mainstream, non-renewable energy markets, bringing savings that help to keep customers’ bills down.”

Gosden said that by using anaerobic digestion alone, about 45% of the organic material in sludge turns into biogas. Thermal hydrolysis increases this to between 60 and 65%.”

The £250M investment will see the new THP systems installed at the Beckton and Riverside sewage works in Essex, Crossness in Thamesmead, Longreach in Barking, Oxford and Crawley sewage works by 2015.

Topic: Energy/Water Nexus , Sustainability & social value
Tags: business , anaerobic digestion , biogas , Biomethane gas , THP , Thames Water

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