Human waste could soon be used to heat new homes in London

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Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images

New homes in London could soon run on excess heat from wastewater treatment in what has been dubbed the “first of its kind” for England.

The collaboration between Thames Water and Kingston Council in the south-west of the British capital would collect the heat and then route it through a sealed pipe network to the district heating system of a new housing estate in the region.

If everything goes according to plan, up to 7 gigawatt hours of heat could be delivered, which will help power more than 2,000 households on the Cambridge Road Estate.

Eventually, the network could expand to serve commercial and public buildings in Kingston city center, according to an announcement by Thames Water on Friday.

“Renewable heat from our sewer network is a fantastic resource, so it is important that we are a leader in the energy transition and realize the full potential of ‘poo power’,” said Sarah Bentley, CEO of the company, in a statement.

Feasibility studies and design work for the initiative have been funded by both the UK government and the Greater London Authority.

An application for further funding has now been submitted to the authorities. The result of this sentence will be announced in March.

The project has been described as “groundbreaking” by Kingston Council Chairperson Caroline Kerr. “It is a first for England and shows that we are serious about reducing carbon in the community,” she added.

The idea of ​​using organic matter or waste to power buildings and other services is not new.

Earlier this month it was announced that a biogas plant off the south coast of England will supply a factory of the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas with electricity.

The facility will generate energy from materials such as grass and corn grown on the Isle of Wight.

And back in 2014, a “bio-bus” powered by sewage, food waste and other commercial liquid waste was used to transport passengers between Bristol Airport and the city of Bath in south-west England.

Reading, a large city west of London, has a fleet of more than 58 biogas buses that use biomethane made from cattle manure and food waste.