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Yorkshire Water plans ‘sustainable community hub' near Esholt WWTP

Yorkshire Water is planning to attract businesses to base themselves near one of its largest wastewater treatment works in order to use the energy and resources it creates, it was revealed at WRc's Innovation Day last week.

The Esholt plant generates enough energy to power 7,000 homesThe Esholt plant generates enough energy to power 7,000 homes

Jon Brigg, Yorkshire Water’s Innovation Manager, told the event in Swindon that redundant land at Esholt Wastewater Treatment Plant, near Bradford, was set to be developed to create a “fully sustainable community hub”. Energy, heat, nutrients and sub-potable water coming out of the plant could be supplied directly to the industries that site themselves in the hub, providing a cost-effective and sustainable solution for all parties. Potable water could also be supplied from local raw water sources to the hub.

Industrial development would be the initial focus but once the infrastructure was in place then residential building in the hub could be the next step, said Brigg.

“The concept is for an integrated water, waste and resource recovery system, delivering products sustainably and resiliently,” he said. “Local delivery is more sustainable and while our assets are centralised, it doesn’t mean that we can’t deliver more locally.”

He said that it was “madness” to send treated drinking water to be used as process water in industry, when local raw water was of sufficient quality and could be supplied at much cheaper cost.

The project fitted with Yorkshire Water’s innovation principles, promoting the circular economy, and dealing with multiple challenges in a single process of aggregation, said Brigg. He said it was part of the utility’s new, more focused approach to innovation.      

“We used to do hundreds of individual innovation projects, which did just enough individually, but when put together, did not deliver transformational change,” he said. “We’ve got to draw back from small-scale invention and concentrate on a few transformational projects.”

Brigg was speaking at the WRc Innovation Day alongside Ian McAuley, chief executive of Viridor, who spoke about the circular economy. He pointed out the synergies that could exist between wastewater treatment and energy from waste and how these were developing within the Pennon Group, which owns both Viridor and South West Water. However, he warned that austerity and public spending cuts were a threat to the developing circular economy, with recycling rates no longer improving.

WRc’s 5th Innovation Event was accompanied by an awards ceremony at the STEAM museum in Swindon, where the WRc Innovation Award was presented to Weeding Technologies for their innovation Foamstream, a non-toxic product to control unwanted weed, moss and algae growth on surfaces such as trickling biological filter beds.

Author: James Brockett,
Topic: Energy/Water Nexus , Innovation
Tags: circular economy , Yorkshire Water , energy , wastewater treatment , Innovation

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