New power revolution in Blackburn

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HUMAN waste is being turned into usable energy in a revolutionary multi-million project in Blackburn.

In an East Lancs first, United Utilities is converting a by-product of wastewater treatment at the giant Blackburn plant into gas which helps the company generate 1/7th of the power it uses in its operations – that’s equal to the power consumed annually by the town of Burnley.

“The plant can process up to 168 mega-litres of sludge each day, which arrives from other UU sites in a 15 mile radius, and includes industrial waste from the Inbev Brewery and the local BAE Systems operations. The power generated helps run the adjacent sewerage treatment works.” explained Steve Mogford, CEO of United Utilities.

He added, “We already use AD technology to treat sewerage sludge and generate electricity at a number of our large treatment plants across the North West. Blackburn is the first in East Lancashire to use a sustainable power supply to run its heating and machinery.”

Mr Mogford was demonstrating the high-tech Blackburn site to the Conservative Defra Minister, Lord Henley, who holds the Government’s portfolio for waste and recycling today (Wednesday August 17).

Biogas is produced when wastewater sludge is broken down by the action of microbes in a process known as `anaerobic digestion’. The plant also exports highly nutritious fertilizer to agricultural land across East Lancashire for farmers free of charge.

Last year United Utilities generated 340GWh from sewerage gas CHP and hydropower. “That’s 1/7th of our total electricity needs. It’s proof that we’re serious about reducing our carbon footprint and reducing the amount of power we import from the national grid.” Added Mr Mogford.

Source: United Utilities

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