Yorkshire Water have signed up to a new project that will convert the by-product gases of wastewater treatment into usable biomethane gas. The deal will see the water company working with Centrica Energy Trading and SGN Commercial Services to install biomethane gas to grid plants at two wastewater treatment sites.
Biogas is a natural by-product of sewage wastewater treatment processes, and it can be upgraded to separate the methane from the other component gases. The resulting upgraded gas is known as biomethane or renewable natural gas, and it has various uses. In the case of the Yorkshire Water scheme, the biomethane will be injected into the local gas network.
The gas to grid plants will be installed at the Knostrop sewage treatment works on the outskirts of Leeds, and also the Blackburn Meadows wastewater treatment works in Sheffield. It is hoped that they will be fully operational by early 2025, and they should be able to produce about 125GWh of biomethane a year.
The amount should be enough to heat around 10,000 homes. The gas could also be used as a vehicle fuel or for industrial purposes. It is expected that the renewable energy scheme will save costs for both the producers and the customers, and also reduce carbon emissions.
Kristian Gjerløv-Juel, Director for Renewable Energy Trading and Optimisation at Centrica Energy Trading commented: “This agreement marks an important milestone for Centrica’s biomethane activities in the UK.”
He added: “Having recently expanded our capabilities to handle trading, nomination, and transportation of green gas in the UK market, we’re working to accelerate biomethane production across Europe and using our capabilities to help businesses deliver on their green procurement strategies and reduce emissions.”
Tom Hall, Head of Bioresources at Yorkshire Water, said: “We’re excited to be working alongside SGN Commercial Services and Centrica Energy Trading to make best use of the biogas Yorkshire Water produces through sewage treatment.”
He added: “We already benefit from biogas-fueled renewable energy generation, but this project demonstrates our commitment to using markets to improve our operational efficiency, reduce customer bills and facilitate carbon emissions reductions in the wider economy.”
SGN’s business development director Marcus Hunt said: “SGN is committed to delivering a greener gas grid and continuing to be at the forefront of providing heat to UK homes and businesses.”
He added: “We’re delighted to announce this partnership with Yorkshire Water – it adds to our ambition to increase biomethane injection into the gas network to provide local customers with green gas and support decarbonisation plans.”
Biomethane can be produced from a process of anaerobic digestion, which occurs when the microbes in organic matter are deprived of oxygen, typically by being stored in an airtight tank. The gas can also be captured in landfills and compressed to prevent the oxygen from escaping.
However, when this process occurs naturally, it also produces harmful carbon dioxide and other gases, which is why it requires upgrading or ‘scrubbing’ to convert it into a usable fuel.
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