Sewage at Thames Water’s Deephams treatment works will be used to create green biogas to power homes and vehicles, saving thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere every year in the process.
The water company, which last month announced its roadmap to achieve net zero carbon emissions across all operations by 2030, is working with gas distribution network SGN to build a new biomethane plant at the works in Edmonton, North London.
The £7.3 million scheme will use the gas generated during the sewage treatment process to produce up to 700 cubic metres of methane every hour and six million cubic metres a year, enough to heat 3,500 homes in the borough of Enfield. This will also offset more than 8,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, the equivalent of driving a diesel car around the world more than 1 million times.
Francis Paonessa, Thames Water’s Capital Delivery Director, said: “We’re delighted to be working with SGN on this opportunity to create clean, green biogas using waste sludge from the sewage treatment process.
The company is working with gas distribution network SGN to build a new biomethane plant at the works in Edmonton, North London
“Installing this new technology means we can give back to our communities by using the leftover gas from our sewage treatment process to heat local homes with renewable energy. It will help in our plans to become a carbon negative business by 2040 with the first milestone: net zero 2030.
“We will always look for innovative new ways to reduce our environmental impact and produce renewable energy, which will not only benefit us but our customers and the environment as a whole.
“We’re already self-generating substantial amounts of renewable energy across our vast estate, meeting around a quarter of our total electricity needs, and are determined to find other opportunities to ensure we leave our planet in a better place for future generations.”
SGN Commercial Director Marcus Hunt added: “We want to continue to be at the forefront of providing heat to UK homes and businesses and recognise the renewable energy investments required to ensure the sustainability of our gas network and supporting decarbonisation goals. This includes growth in gas-to-grid biomethane projects in partnership with UK water companies.
“We’re delighted to be collaborating with Thames Water on an eight-year framework to design, construct, operate, finance and maintain biogas processing installations on their wastewater treatment facilities. The initial project at Deephams will see the implementation of biogas and upgrading grid entry equipment to enable increased biomethane injection within existing pipeline infrastructure.”
The new plant will also significantly improve air quality around Deephams and reduce the need to burn off excess gas. Work on the plant will begin next month and is expected to be completed in early 2022, with testing taking place until spring next year.
Biogas schemes such as that at Deephams could be rolled out across the region and have the potential to offset 150,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year by 2030, the equivalent of one-fifth of Thames Water’s carbon footprint in 2019/20.