A £200m combined heat and power plant running on waste fats, oils and grease thrown down the sewers of London, is to provide heat and power under long-term contracts to Thames Water and National Grid Gas plc.
The 19 MW plant is to be constructed in Beckton, East London, alongside Thames Water’s desalination plant and sewage treatment works.
The main fuel will be derived from fats, oils and greases (FOGs) which would otherwise be tipped down the drain or dumped in landfill.
Other fuel sources include oil wastes from food manufacturers, processors and tallow (animal fats). There will be no virgin oils from field or plantation grown crops, making the energy sources truly sustainable and renewable.
Thames Water has committed to working with 2OC Ltd, the green utility company, to supply well over half of its fuel demand from FOGs from the start of operation in 2015, with the intention of increasing that over time.
Thames, which is Britain’s biggest water company, says that FOGs are responsible for most of the blockages in its 109,000 km of sewers and removing them costs £1m a month.
The CHP plant will produce 130 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of renewable electricity a year, enough to run just under 40,000 average sized homes.
It will have an overall efficiency of around 97% and exceptional electrical efficiency in excess of 65%. Additional power is generated from the recovery of thermal energy (provided by heat from the engine) via a turbo-expander in the gas stream.