Human Waste to be Recycled into Biogas for Cooking and Heating
By June 16th, 2009Tuesday, June 16, 2009 1:24 on
Human waste could be an important source of “green” electricity for cooking and heating if it is converted into methane. Hundreds of thousands of people could benefit from this amazing source of energy. For this reason United Utilities is planning a £4.3 million scheme to build sewage treatment plants that can generate sewage gas for people.
The pilot biogas conversion plant could generate enough power for 5,000 homes by 2011, being expected to begin operations by 2011.
Caroline Ashton, the company’s biofuels manager, said: “Sewage treatment is a 24-hour process so there is an endless supply of biogas. It is a very valuable resource and it’s completely renewable. By harnessing this free energy we can reduce our fuel bills and reduce our carbon footprint.”
Methane is produced when microbes break down sewage sludge in a process known as ‘anerobic digestion’. Most sewage plants burn raw methane to generate electricity. The new plant will clean up the gas by removing carbon dioxide, moisture and the traces of sulphides and other contaminants that give sewage its distinctive aroma. The pure methane produced by the plant will be clear and almost identical to the gas that comes from the North Sea.
A spokesman for United Utilities said that: ” Currently, the methane from wastewater treatment plants is burnt to generate electricity, but that’s not a particularly efficient way to use the gas.”
When this plant will be ready, similar projects will be constructed in other places, to provide green energy for hundreds of thousands of people.
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