Fat and oil from restaurants and build-ups in drains will soon be powering Britain’s biggest sewage works, it was announced yesterday.
According to plans, the grease will be fed into what will be the world’s largest fat-fuelled power station at Beckton in East London.
The plant, developed and run by 2OC, is set to produce 130 Gigawatt hours (GWh) a year of renewable electricity, which is enough to run 39,000 average-sized homes.
Thames Water has agreed to buy 75 GWh of this output to run Beckton sewage works, while the remaining power will be sold on to the national energy supply grid.
The water firm has also committed to provide at least half of the fuel the generator requires to run in the form of 30 tonnes a day of fat, oil and grease (FOG) — enough to fill a six metre-long shipping container — that would otherwise clog up London’s sewers.
Leftover, low-grade cooking oil and food fat will be collected from food outlets and manufacturers. Solidified grease, such as from lamb and chicken, will be harvested from grease traps in restaurant kitchens and from pinch-points around the capital’s sewer network.
The rest of the power plant’s fuel will come from waste vegetable oils and tallow animal fat.
Andrew Mercer, chief executive of 2OC, said: “Our renewable power and heat from waste oils and fats is fully sustainable. When Thames doesn’t need our output, it will be made available to the grid meaning that power will be sourced, generated and used in London by Londoners.”
Thames Water currently spends £1m a month clearing FOG blockages from the 109,000km of sewers that it manages.