United Utilities turns human waste to energy at plant

Human waste is being turned into energy in a multimillion-pound project in Lancashire.

United Utilities is converting a by-product of waste water at its Blackburn plant into gas.

The company is using the method to generate about 15% of the power it uses in its operations - equal to the power consumed in Burnley each year.

The power generated helps run the sewage treatment works next to the United Utilities plant.

The plant also exports highly nutritious fertilizer to agricultural land across east Lancashire for farmers free of charge.

'Sustainable power'

The method uses biogas, which is produced when waste water sludge is broken down by microbes in a process known as anaerobic digestion.

Steve Mogford, CEO of United Utilities, said: "The plant can process up to 168 mega-litres of sewage each day, which arrives from other United Utilities sites in a 15-mile radius, and includes industrial waste from the Inbev Brewery and the local BAE Systems operations.

"The power generated helps run the adjacent sewage treatment works."

He added: "We already use AD technology to treat sewerage sludge and generate electricity at a number of our large treatment plants across the North West.

"Blackburn is the first in East Lancashire to use a sustainable power supply to run its heating and machinery."

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