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Veolia boosts renewable generation for Southern Water

Global resource management company Veolia is helping Southern Water derive more of its power from sewage through the installation of new combined heat and power (CHP) engines at three wastewater treatment works.

The company is installing new CHP engines at three of Southern Water sites - Budds Farm WWTW and Fullerton WWTW in Hampshire, and Gravesend WWTW in Kent. The work will save around 3,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year and is part of Southern Water’s wider project to generate more renewable energy by upgrading CHP units at five of its sites.

Each new Veolia project includes the design, installation and operation of the biogas cogeneration units by Veolia’s specialist CHP team, and adds to the systems already serving seven other Southern Water treatment sites. The CHP engines will now deliver around 48.3GWh of renewable electricity each year, taking pressure off the local electricity infrastructure and saving 8,800 tonnes of CO2 emissions – equivalent to the output from nearly 5,800 cars.

Commenting on this latest CHP application, Gavin Graveson, Veolia’s COO Public and Commercial said: “Recent estimates show that biogas from the sludge resource could deliver an estimated 1,697GWh each year - enough electricity to power over half a million homes. This latest extension of the use of CHP by Southern Water clearly demonstrates its commitment to further the sustainability of the water industry.”

Martin Ross, Southern Water Energy Manager, said: “We currently generate 17% of our electricity from 16 CHP sites. The capturing of biogas is a double win because not only do we collect free fuel but we also prevent the release of methane which has a global-warming potential 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide.”

Biogas, captured by anaerobic digestion from the wastewater treatment processes, is used as a fuel and will provide the electricity needed to power the wastewater treatment operations, with the surplus being fed to the grid. The heat recovered from the CHP units is fed to the AD process to speed up the bacterial digestion of organic matter and biogas output.

Around 190 UK wastewater sites now produce biogas to generate electricity which is used on site or exported to the national grid. Today, the potential power from human sewage in the UK could now keep around fourteen million LED/LCD TVs or ten million game consoles running constantly.

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Energy/Water Nexus , Sustainability & social value
Tags: Southern Water , energy

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