Generating Electricity from Sewer Blocking Fats
We know that fats, oils and grease (FOGs) shouldn’t be poured into our drains because as they cool, they will congeal and clog up the drains and sewers. But, unless your drains have ever clogged and overflowed into your house, you probably don’t take it very seriously. Well, in one London borough alone, Thames Water have to clear 40,000 blockages caused by fat every year, which cost an average £1 million each month!
Fat chance of success
That’s why new plans have been announced this month to put these mountains of fatty deposits to good use. 2OC, a green utility company, have developed a plant that will collect and recycle waste fat, oils and grease, both from ‘fatbergs’ in the sewers and by collecting it from restaurants and cafes before it enters the drainage system, by burning it to create electricity. Currently the ‘fatbergs’ from the sewers are disposed of in landfill, which is damaging our environment. So this new plan to reuse the waste to create a sustainable and renewable energy source is not only good for Thames Water, and their customers, but is also very beneficial for our environment.
Unconventional renewable energy
Every day the new power station will use 30 tonnes of fat, grease and oil – turning it into a fuel and burning it to release energy. It’s estimated that the project will generate 130 GWh of renewable energy every year – enough to power 39,000 houses or make 4.4 billion cups of tea!
Thames Water have agreed to buy 75 GWh of this to power Beckton sewage works, which serves 3 and a half million people, as well as a desalination plant which is used during periods of drought. The fat will be used like any other fuel and burnt to produce energy. It promises very few emissions, and because of the high temperature it will not produce odours or smoke, ensuring no pollution.
Mr Smith, from Thames Water, has described the plans as a ‘win-win situation’ because of its low environmental impact – it’s creating a sustainable energy solution, and reducing the amount of fat and grease going to landfill. They have, however, still reiterated the message from their ‘Bin It, Don’t Block It’ campaign – and just because the ‘fatbergs’ in the London sewers will hopefully now be going towards good use, doesn’t mean we now have free reign to pour whatever we like down out drains.
Don’t suffer blocked drains
Fats, oils and grease don’t always make it to the sewers, it could just as easily clog your drainage system, resulting in blocked drains and overflows in your home. If you’re concerned about the condition of your drains and want to ensure that the fat and grease you’ve been pouring down the plughole isn’t building up – call in an expert drainage company to carry out a CCTV drainage survey. They will be able to show you exactly what damage you’re causing and clear away the build up with high power jet washers to leave your drains flowing freely again.