England’s first ever poo-powered heating scheme is coming to Kingston upon Thames – using energy recovered from the sewage treatment process to heat more than 2,000 homes in the London borough.
The project is part of an ongoing partnership between Kingston Council and Thames Water, in a bid to help each other reach climate targets.
If successful, similar “poo-power” schemes are expected to pop up around the UK, reducing millions of tonnes of carbon emissions. However, since it’s still early days, it’s not known when the rest of the country can expect to see similar schemes.
A spokesperson from Thames Water told The Eco Experts: “As the scheme is still being planned, it’s too early to say if or when it could be widened – and if it was, it would depend on other water companies and local authorities working together in the same way we have with Kingston.”
How does the “poo power” scheme work?
The new scheme is the first of its kind in England and has the potential to provide green heating to new homes.
After treating its customers’ sewage, water companies usually flush the clean warm water that remains back into a local river system as ‘effluent’.
Under the new plans, however, Thames Water will funnel the warm water to an energy centre, where heat will be captured from the effluent, concentrated, and supplied to local buildings.
Caroline Kerr, Leader of Kingston Council, said:
What is the project’s environmental impact?
Since heating accounts for 31% of household emissions, this type of innovation is vital for the UK to meet its climate change targets.
It’s estimated that over the next 30 years, this renewable heat project could save up to 105 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (ktCO 2e) emissions – in other words, 157,000 return flights from London to New York, or more than 15,000 car journeys around the world.
Future phases of the heat network are expected to save even more emissions too – helping Kingston Council achieve its target of being carbon neutral by 2038.
If the first phase proves successful, the project will then be expanded to include public and commercial buildings in Kingston town centre.
Reusing waste is something the UK will need to utilise to combat its emissions – and Thames Water has certainly proved that it’s possible. In December, the company produced enough renewable electricity across 24 sewage works to power the equivalent of more than 110,000 homes.
At this rate, we’ll be able to heat our homes guilt-free in no time.