• Plans to create the world’s first carbon neutral waste treatment works in Staffordshire, with investment from Ofwat’s Innovation Fund, Horizon Europe and Severn Trent
  • World-leading ‘net-zero hub’ will be home to new innovations and technologies to reduce and remove operational emissions, following collaboration with water companies around the world
  • Project has the potential to cut greenhouse gas, with the water industry representing around 2-5% of UK’s carbon emissions – two thirds from waste treatment

Severn Trent has unveiled plans to create the world’s first carbon neutral waste treatment plant in Staffordshire, with work on the multi-million-pound project (almost £40m) set to start in September.

This ground-breaking project – which is backed by all UK and Irish water companies and international Net Zero Partnership with Aarhus Vand in Denmark and Melbourne Water in Australia – will transform a large, carbon intensive Wastewater Treatment Plant into the world’s first retro-fit carbon neutral site in Strongford.

The new ‘net-zero hub’ is being supported by the Ofwat Innovation Fund, which announced a £10 million cash injection last week. A further £0.9 million has been secured through Horizon Europe and £28 million will be invested by Severn Trent to make this ambition a reality.

For the first time, the most promising technologies will be integrated on one site to reduce and remove carbon – eradicating 34,000 tonnes of carbon per year, which is equivalent to a person flying return between London and New York, 34,500 times.

The new hub, which is already home to advanced digestion (THP) and ‘gas to grid’ technology, has the potential to change the face of wastewater management around the world.

Among the new processes on site is a technology from waste and water group SUEZ, called ‘Actilayer’, a novel cover for sludge plants which reduces levels of nitrous oxide, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, to low levels through the use of catalytic material and the power of sunlight.

Other projects include Cellulose Recovery from Dutch company Cirtec, which is a long-held ambition in the UK to remove toilet paper from sewage and recycle it into a valuable, sustainable material that can be used for another purpose such as insulation or in construction products.

The site will also house Digital Twin technology, which is a virtual representation of the whole treatment plant – including low carbon technologies. With the help of Atkins, Explore AI, Siemens and Xylem, this virtual world will allow Severn Trent to optimise technologies, see how they interact and automatically apply those learnings to the treatment plant. This will also reduce energy consumption at the site.

Among those working on sludge optimisation is Eliquo Hydrok with a technology to extract more biogas using a vacuum, Royal Haskoning DHV with a technology called Eyphra to optimise the digestion process and CAMBI, who are a leader in thermal hydrolysis to help minimise the need for heat through the digestion process. Together these technologies will result in a combination of methane emissions reduction, reduced natural gas consumption and the opportunity to produce additional biogas.

Based at one of Severn Trent’s biggest sites that serves Stoke-on-Trent, the hub will not only put the Midlands on the map for innovative wastewater management but will also support Severn Trent’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and protecting the environment, while creating a ‘blueprint’ for all water companies to help them achieve their net zero commitments.

No Comment

Comments are closed.