Poo Power

UK village methane digester powers 900 homes from community sewage

Published: 18-Oct-2004

N id=main1>Nothing goes to waste at Newthorpe sewage works... including poo.

Heat and power convertors installed by Severn Trent Water at the site near Eastwood are now turning sewage into electricity for 900 homes.

The £525,000 project means that nearly 30 Severn Trent sewage works in the region are now harnessing power from waste.

Newthorpe sewage works processes up to 16 million litres of sewage every day from 53,000 households and businesses.

This waste is heated in large vessels to break it down.

Methane gas is given off as a by-product and its heat is used to power generators and produce electricity.

This power is then exported to the national grid.

Severn Trent Water aims to produce 40% of all its sewage treatment energy requirements from renewable sources by next year.

The Government aims for renewable energy sources such as this to provide ten per cent of the UK's energy by 2010.

Peter Doughty, Severn Trent's power generation manager said: "This reduces our reliance on energy produced from fossil fuels which give off greenhouse gases."

And poo-power could be a major energy source for the future.

Gill Turton, spokesperson for Severn Trent, said: "The generator at Newthorpe has been running successfully and capturing energy that would have been lost. Our sewage works with this equipment have the potential to become almost self-sufficient for energy in the future."

Severn Trent has been harnessing energy in this way since 1969 after the first power generator was installed at the Minworth sewage works near Birmingham.

Since then the process has developed steadily throughout the company's 1000 sites in its region.

But the company have also been making sure that other chances to use renewable energy do not go to waste.

Severn Trent held talks with drinks companies in 2001 to discuss using the carbon dioxide given off by the waste digestion process for fizzy drinks.

Pop drinkers were assured that the gas would be safe and of the same quality as before.

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