Enough renewable Thames Water energy in Swindon to cook 2m Christmas turkeys

By Barrie Hudson - 17 December 2021


Thames Water has announced the latest landmark in its journey to having net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

  • One of Thames Water's anaerobic digestion units

    One of Thames Water's anaerobic digestion units

The firm says it has generated enough renewable energy from Swindon’s sewage in the last year to cook more than 2m Christmas turkeys.

Swindon sewage treatment works created 2.7m cubic metres of green biogas during the sewage treatment process, which could cook 10 festive meals for the each of the town’s residents.

In June, Thames Water announced its commitment to leading the future of energy transition by transforming the way it creates and uses power to become?net carbon zero by 2030, with generating renewable power from waste as an important part of this plan. 

Overall since November 2020, the water company has created almost 140 million cubic metres of biogas, which was transformed in to more than 300 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, the amount needed to power more than 140 million metres of fairy lights – enough to stretch around the earth’s circumference four times.

Matt Gee, Thames Water’s energy and carbon strategy and reporting manager, said: “Creating our own clean, green energy is an important part of our sewage treatment process and we’re generating more and more each year. 

“Doing this allows us to power our sites with renewable and eco-friendly fuels, and as we continue to generate more, we want to export it to be used in our local communities. 

“This is just a part of our long-term plan to be carbon net zero by 2030, which is a key part of our company-wide turnaround plan to ensure we perform in the way that our customers, communities and the environment expect from us.

“We know we’ll need to work alongside other companies from a range of industries to ensure we protect the planet for future generations and encourage everyone to look at sustainable and eco-friendly solutions.”

Biogas is created by feeding sludge, a by-product of the sewage treatment process, into special digester tanks where a process called anaerobic digestion takes place. The energy produced can then be used to power sewage treatment works, preventing the use of fossil fuels and protecting the environment. 

Eliot Whittington, Director of the UK Corporate Leaders Group, of which Thames Water is an active member, said: “As more and more of the world sets strong targets for climate change, it’s essential that action follows that ambition.

“Thames Water’s investment in new renewable energy is a great Christmas present to the UK’s climate targets and to the communities it operates in, and makes a strong down payment on its long term ambition to be carbon net zero by 2030.”

Thames Water has already cut emissions by almost 70 per cent since 1990. The UK’s largest water supplier, which has been producing renewable energy at?Mogden?sewage works in London since the 1930s,?is also aiming to?protect?the planet?and its?15 million customers?water supply for the future?by?becoming?carbon negative by 2040.?? 

The company’s plan includes reducing the?use of fossil fuels across the business, solar power and heat recovery schemes, and working with sustainable suppliers and partners. 

Thames Water is also urging customers to ensure cooking oil and fat from their Christmas dinner isn’t poured down the sink and in to the sewer network, where it can form huge fatbergs which risk sewage spilling out in to homes, businesses and the environment. 

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