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Monday, 08 April 2013 07:18

Thames Water and 2OC in £200m deal to turn ‘fatbergs’ into energy

Low carbon energy firm 2OC has signed a 20-year deal worth over £200 million with Thames Water to generate renewable power and heat from fats and oils in sewers for the sewage treatment works at Beckton.

A nearby Combined Heat and intelligent Power (CHiP) plant will use the fuels derived from fats, oils and greases (FOGs), which often clog London’s sewers. The FOGs will be channelled in order to provide renewable energy for Beckton sewage works and the nearby desalination plant. Other fuel sources include oil wastes from food manufacturers, processors and tallow (animal fats). No virgin oils from field or plantation grown crops will be used, 2OC said.

Thames has committed to working with 2OC to supply well over half its fuel demand from FOGs from the start of operation in 2015, with the intention of increasing that over time. The utility said FOGs are responsible for most of the blockages in its 109,000 km sewer network and removing them costs £1 million a month.

The CHiP plant will produce 130 Gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable electricity a year - enough to run just under 40,000 average-sized homes, according to 2OC. 75GWh will be purchased by Thames to run its sewage works and desalination plant and the rest will be sold on to the National Grid.

Waste heat from the 2-stroke engine will be used in the adjacent gas pressure reduction station allowing existing gas fired boilers to be turned off. Additional renewable heat is available for any housing schemes nearby, 2OC said.

J Murphy and Sons has been awarded the £70 million contract to build the plant, due to be operational in the first quarter of 2015. iCON Infrastructure is the lead investor in the Beckton CHiP alongside EEA Holdings Ltd and Deutsche Bank.

Piers Clark, Commercial Director for Thames Water commented:

“This project is a win-win. Renewable power for two of our critical services and a means of tackling the ongoing operational problem of so-called ‘fatbergs’ which are responsible for over 40,000 blockages a year in our sewage network.”

Andrew Mercer CEO of 2OC said:

“This is the culmination of many years of hard work from my world class team at 2OC. This is good for us, Thames Water and its customers and the environment. Renewable power and heat sourced in London, generated in London and used in London.”

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