From fat to electricity – a revolutionary new energy source from your sink

Monday 14 January 2013 11:07

Beneath the streets of London lie copious volumes of fat and oil, which are deposited into the city's historic sewers 24 hours a day and have long been a nuisance for councils. Fortunately, one water company has now agreed to use this waste to generate 130 GWh of electricity per year.

A new way to generate electricity – from 'fatbergs'

A power station in the Beckton area of east London will become the first in the capital to burn 'fatbergs' to generate electricity thanks to an investment from Thames Water. The Beckton sewage works, which serves around 3.5 million residents, will effectively be run by a combination of cooking oil and grease deposited from hundreds of thousands of sinks across the city.

The sewers are currently cleared by dozens of shovellers each year, who remove tens of thousands of blockages to keep the capital's sewage system operating efficiently every day. Rob Smith, the technical coordinator for Thames Water, says fat traps could soon be installed beneath restaurant sinks in the city, where much of the capital's cooking oil is deposited.

London could soon have up to 39,000 'grease-powered' homes

The Beckton site could become the country's largest fat-fuelled power station and will also help to de-congest the city's sewers, which cost almost £1 million a month to unblock. The new plant will be operated by 2OC and will be created to deliver power 'in London, by Londoners' according to 2OC's Andrew Mercer, although some of the energy will also be sold off to the National Grid. Mercer also states that the site will involve no odours or pollution and will be closely monitored by the UK Environment Agency.

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