Fat-fuelled power station to power homes

8 April 2013
By Sofia Mitra-Thakur
Mobile version
Share |
A Thames Water engineer stands inside a large tunnel during a cleaning operation in London

A Thames Water engineer stands inside a large tunnel during a cleaning operation in London

Fat, oil and build-ups in drains will soon be powering what will be the world's biggest fat-fuelled power station in Britain, and it will tackle the ongoing problem of "fatbergs" in sewers.

The grease will be fed into the power station at Beckton in East London, and is set to produce 130 Gigawatt hours (GWh) a year of renewable electricity - enough to run 39,000 average-sized homes, according to Thames Water.

The water company has agreed to buy 75 GWh of this output to run Beckton sewage works, which serves 3.5 million people, and the nearby desalination plant, which is operated in times of drought or other emergencies.

The remaining power will be sold on to the national energy supply grid.

The plant is developed and run by 2OC and financed by a consortium led by iCON Infrastructure.

Thames Water has also committed to provide at least half of the fuel the generator requires to run - in the form of 30 tonnes a day of fat, oil and grease - enough to fill a six metre-long shipping container - that would otherwise clog up London's sewers.

Leftover, low-grade cooking oil and food fat will be collected from food outlets and manufacturers.

Solidified grease, such as from lamb and chicken, will be harvested from 'fat traps' in restaurant kitchens and from pinch-points around the capital's sewer network.

The rest of the power plant's fuel will come from waste vegetable oils and tallow (animal fat).

Andrew Mercer, chief executive of 2OC, said: "This is good for us, the environment, Thames Water and its customers.

"Our renewable power and heat from waste oils and fats is fully sustainable. When Thames doesn't need our output, it will be made available to the grid meaning that power will be sourced, generated and used in London by Londoners."

Piers Clark, commercial director for Thames Water, said: "This project is a win-win: renewable power, hedged from the price fluctuations of the non-renewable mainstream power markets, and helping tackle the ongoing operational problem of 'fatbergs' in sewers."

London-based J Murphy and Sons have won the contract to build the plant, which is due to be operational in the first quarter of 2015.

Every year across its 109,000km of sewers, Thames Water removes 80,000 blockages, half of which are caused by fat wrongly poured down drains.

Clearing these blockages costs the firm £1 million a month.

The power the water company has committed to buy accounts for 6 per cent of the 1.2 Terrawatt hours of power a year it requires to run its water and waste water networks serving 14 million people across London and the Thames Valley.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1604

"Should the UK's engineers be in or out of Europe? The IET sets out its official position on the EU referendum this week - will you agree?"

->

E&T jobs

  • Solutions Engineer

    Bristol Water
    • United Kingdom
    • £41,000 - 49,000

    We serve a population of over one million people and all the associated businesses in an area of 1,000 square miles centered on Bristol.

    • Recruiter: Bristol Water

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Mechanical Engineer

    Bristol Water
    • United Kingdom
    • £41,000 - 49,000

    We serve a population of over one million people and all the associated businesses in an area of 1,000 square miles centered on Bristol.

    • Recruiter: Bristol Water

    Apply for this job

  • Software Renewals Manager

    BAE Systems
    • Preston, Lancashire, England
    • Negotiable

    Software Renewals Manager Would you like to work in a resourceful and developing role within IT Services? We currently have a vacancy for a Software Renewals Manager at our site in Preston Channel Way. As a Software Renewals Manager, you will be responsi

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Technical Manager

    Aggregate Industries
    • Hulland Ward, Ashbourne
    • Attractive salary plus comprehensive benefits

    A key Technical Manager role driving product improvement and compliance with Aggregate Industries, market leader in Construction Solutions.

    • Recruiter: Aggregate Industries

    Apply for this job

  • Field Application Engineer

    Intel
    • Madrid

    Responsible for giving product presentations to the customer describing how Intel products provide the optimum solution to their application.

    • Recruiter: Intel

    Apply for this job

  • Engineers and Scientists

    European Patent Office
    • Munich and The Hague
    • See job description

    We are looking for Engineers and scientists in various technical fields for our locations in Munich and The Hague.

    • Recruiter: European Patent Office

    Apply for this job

  • Director of Product Management

    EMS Recruitment Group
    • West Yorkshire
    • Circa £70,000 PA + car allowance, excellent benefits including lucrative bonus scheme

    Our client is the undoubted world leader in their field. A highly innovative and progressive specialist electro-mechanical product manufacturer....

    • Recruiter: EMS Recruitment Group

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer

    Premium job

    Scottish Prison Service
    • Edinburgh, City of Edinburgh
    • £40,654 to £48,579 plus annual supplement of £10,000

    Build Your Engineering Career. The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) is an Agency of the Scottish Government, working in partnership.....

    • Recruiter: Scottish Prison Service

    Apply for this job

  • Sales Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Precision Microdrives
    • London (Greater)
    • £25,000 - £30,000 starting salary, inclusive of on-target commissions.

    Precision Microdrives (PMD) is a fast growing technology company that designs, produces and trades miniature electro-mechanical mechanisms

    • Recruiter: Precision Microdrives

    Apply for this job

  • Installation and Commissioning Engineer

    Premium job

    Crest Solutions
    • Corby
    • Competitive

    You will be involved in installation, commissioning & servicing of printing and machine vision related solutions.

    • Recruiter: Crest Solutions

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T