Gas from sewage treatment process used in British homes

A £2.5m project is seeing British households cook and heat homes with renewable gas produced from human waste, for the first time.

Biomethane gas from Didcot sewage works in Oxfordshire will produce enough renewable gas to supply up to 200 homes.

The project at Didcot is a joint venture between Thames Water, British Gas and Scotia Gas Networks and marks an important milestone in the UK's efforts to decarbonise the gas grid and move towards a low-carbon economy.

Biomethane from all sources will make a contribution to decarbonising the gas grid by delivering renewable heat to households through the existing gas network and central heating boilers.

According to a study by National Grid, it could account for at least 15 per cent of the domestic gas market by 2020.

Sewage arrives at the Didcot works from some of Thames Water's 13.8 million customers to be treated and recycled back to the environment.

Sludge is then treated further in warmed-up vats in a process called anaerobic digestion, where bacteria break down biodegradable material, yielding biogas. Impurities are removed from the biomethane before it is fed into the gas grid.

The whole process from flushing a toilet to gas being piped to people's homes takes around 20 days.

The project took six months to complete and cost £2.5m.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "It's not every day that a Secretary of State can announce that, for the first time ever in the UK, people can cook and heat their homes with gas generated from sewage."

Further information:
Thames Water

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