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Mancunian Sewage to Power Homes

By David Holmes on July 9, 2009

It has been announced recently that a method of converting human waste into biomethane is to be used as an alternative power source in the English city of Manchester.

Under a joint project developed by United Utilities and the National Grid, which received funding for the scheme via Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), plans are currently in motion to source biomethane from the UK’s second largest waste water treatment plant in Davyhulme, Manchester.

Biomethane is produced when any one of a variety of natural products, such as human waste, is incinerated. Carbon dioxide emissions of biomethane production are renowned for being significantly lower than other types of fuel processing. In any case, however, the Davyhulme project will aim to ensure that virtually no carbon dioxide emissions are released into the atmosphere through its careful processing techniques. Indeed, this form of renewable energy is not new to the Manchester waste water treatment plant, which is already a ‘green operator’ as it powers and heats the large site using bio-gas. Nevertheless, the £4.3 million United Utilities venture aims to make biomethane a commercial and environmental success.

Although initial plans estimate that around 500 local homes will be supplied with the processed biomethane from Davyhulme, the energy company’s hope is to eventually supply up to 5,000 homes in the area. Furthermore, this alternative supply of ‘green’ gas will hopefully be employed in other areas throughout the country and, ultimately, it should not only have the effect of reducing carbon emissions but it ought to result in lower energy prices for many households. Indeed, once biomethane processing is up and running on a large commercial basis, everybody should benefit from it.