Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Human waste to heat thousands of homes

It gives a whole new meaning to cooking with 'natural' gas.

Within two years, thousands of people will be preparing their dinner and heating their homes using methane gas extracted from human waste.

The energy company behind the scheme say the 'sewage works gas' will be clean, environmentally friendly and indistinguishable from the North Sea variety.The pilot biogas conversion plant will be built at Britain's second biggest sewage works in Manchester and could generate enough power for 5,000 homes by 2011.

Other plants are expected to follow - eventually producing sewage gas for hundreds of thousands of people.

The £4.3 million scheme is the brainchild of United Utilities who yesterday got Government funding for the plant at Davyhulme waste water treatment works.

Caroline Ashton, the company's biofuels manager, said: "Sewage treatment is a 24-hour process so there is an endless supply of biogas.

'It is a very valuable resource and it's completely renewable.

'By harnessing this free energy we can reduce our fuel bills and reduce our carbon footprint.'

Methane is produced when microbes break down sewage sludge in a process known as 'anerobic digestion'.
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