Thames Water and Kingston Council plan to harness ‘poo power’ to heat homes

The project is the first of its kind in England and supports the council’s target of being carbon neutral by 2038

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Thames Water is planning a new project to harness the heat of human waste from its sewage treatment plant to warm more than 2,000 homes in Kingston.

The ‘poo power’ scheme – the first of its kind in England – has the potential to provide clean and green heating to new homes as part of the regeneration of Kingston’s Cambridge Road Estate.

Under Thames Water and Kingston Council’s plans, heat recovered from the final effluent of the sewage treatment process at Hogsmill will be captured before water is returned to the river, concentrated and supplied to local buildings from an energy centre to be built on site.

Up to 7GWH of low carbon heat per year could be supplied via a network of pipes to the district heating system at the Estate, with the aim to expand the network to include public and commercial buildings in Kingston town centre.

The government and Greater London Authority have funded feasibility studies and design work for the project over the last two years and an application has been submitted to the government for capital funding, with results to be announced this month.

Sarah Bentley, Chief Executive of Thames Water said: “We’re delighted to be working with Kingston Council, offering low carbon energy to a new housing development near to our works. Renewable heat from our sewer network is a fantastic resource so it’s vital we are a leading player in energy transition and unlock the full potential of ‘poo power’.

“Protecting and enhancing the environment is extremely important to us and we have committed to doing all we can to find new and innovative ways to achieve our net zero ambitions over the next 10 years. We’re already self-generating substantial amounts of renewable energy across our vast estate, meeting around a quarter of our total electricity needs, and are confident innovative district heating schemes like this will offer many more opportunities to ensure we leave our planet in a better place for future generations.”

The renewable heat project is estimated to save 105 kilo tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions over 30 years – the equivalent of 157,000 return flights from London to New York – and is said to be the single largest carbon reduction scheme in Kingston.

Future phases of the network are planned to save additional emissions and help Kingston Council achieve its target of being carbon neutral by 2038.

Cllr Caroline Kerr, Leader of Kingston Council added: “This is ground-breaking. It’s a first for England and shows we are serious about reducing carbon in the borough. This is a real opportunity to be bold and ambitious for future generations. It’s great to be working alongside Thames Water to make waste into clean energy.

“The regeneration of Kingston’s largest council estate, Cambridge Road Estate, is a fantastic opportunity to make new homes in Kingston among the greenest in the country. We will continue to work alongside a range of partners to make green, sustainable energy a reality for Kingston.”

 

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