Thames Water claims to have generated enough biogas from sewage this year to roast 112 million Christmas turkeys.
The UK’s largest water company created almost 140 million cubic metres of green biogas over the year. This was transformed in to more than 300 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, the amount needed to power more than 140 million metres of fairy lights – which would stretch around the earth’s circumference four times.
In June, Thames Water announced it would become net carbon zero by 2030. Sludge-derived biogas powering electricity generation occupies its table’s centrepiece.
Crossness sewage works in Greenwich was the utility’s biggest plant for renewable green biogas in 2021, churning out 18.5 million m3, enough to cook 15 million turkeys. Mogden sewage works in Twickenham and Beckton in Newham racked up another 30 m3 between them.
Matt Gee, Thames Water’s energy & carbon strategy manager, said: “Creating our own clean, green energy is an important part of our sewage treatment process and we’re generating more and more each year.
“Doing this allows us to power our sites with renewable and eco-friendly fuels. As we continue to generate more, we want to export it to be used in our local communities.
“This is just a part of our long-term plan to be net carbon zero by 2030, which is a key part of our company-wide turnaround plan to ensure we perform in the way that our customers, communities and the environment expect from us.
“We know we’ll need to work alongside other companies from a range of industries to ensure we protect the planet for future generations and encourage everyone to look at sustainable and eco-friendly solutions.”
Providing water to 15 million customers, Thames Water says it has cut carbon emissions by almost 70 per cent since 1990. That Mogden sewage plant has produced clean power since the 1930s.
Reducing its use of fossil fuels wherever possible, the company employs floating solar arrays on reservoirs near Heathrow Airport, and heat recovery schemes.
To help save money on its own bills, Thames Water is working with sustainability experts at the University of Surrey on a four-year project to boost the production of biogas from human waste. This can then be used to generate enough electricity to power its sewage treatment sites over peak periods.
Thames Water asks customers to ensure cooking oil and fat from their Christmas dinner isn’t poured down the sink and in to the sewer network, where it can form fatbergs which risk sewage spilling out in to homes, businesses and the environment. Find out more at its ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ campaign.