October 2010 - Sewage project sends first ever renewable gas to grid

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On 15 October 2010, our project at Didcot sewage works in Oxfordshire, enabled customers to cook and heat their homes with renewable gas - produced from human waste - for the first time.

This landmark project - a joint venture between Thames Water, British Gas and Scotia Gas Networks - marked an important milestone in the UK's efforts to decarbonise the gas grid and move towards a low-carbon economy.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne said: "It's not every day that a Secretary of State can announce that, for the first time ever in the UK, people can cook and heat their homes with gas generated from sewage.

"This is an historic day for the companies involved, for energy from waste technologies, and for progress to increase the amount of renewable energy in the UK.”

Sewage arrives at the Didcot plant from some of our 14 million customers to be treated and recycled back to the environment.

Sludge, the solid part of sewage, is then treated further in warmed-up vats in a process called anaerobic digestion, where bacteria break down biodegradable material, yielding biogas.

Impurities are removed from the biomethane before it is fed into the gas grid. The whole process - from flushing a toilet to gas being piped to people's homes - takes around 20 days.

Biomethane gas from Didcot sewage works will produce enough renewable gas to supply up to 200 homes.

Read our gas to grid press release

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