The conclusion of a two-year, £34 million project to create a self-powered sewage works in Bradford is being marked with a grand opening today.
Yorkshire Water’s Esholt site will become the company’s first entirely ‘poo powered’ site thanks to one of the UK’s only operational BioThelys Sludge Treatment Plants.
This cutting edge technology creates enough renewable energy to power the 750-acre site by generating biogas from the 30,000 tonnes of sludge that comes through the site each year.
That fuel can provide heat and power for the large site, reducing Yorkshire Water’s carbon footprint by 9,000 tonnes and saving £1.3 million a year in energy costs – helping keep customer’s bills down.
And the development is also great news for the local agricultural community; the process creates a product which is a superb fertiliser, packed full of nutrients, which is recycled back into Yorkshire’s agriculture. A total of 62,000 tonnes of fertiliser can be produced at the site each year.
Richard Flint, Yorkshire Water CEO, said: “This is a massive step for us as a company and it is good news for the environment, the agriculture industry and also our customers because it will help us keep bills down.
“The technology being used on this site truly is some of the most cutting edge around and it’s playing a major part in an 80% increase in the amount of renewable energy being generated by Yorkshire Water in the last year.”
The opening event was attended by Bradford Lord Mayor Cllr Mike Gibbons, who said: “The innovative technology which Yorkshire Water is now harnessing is hugely impressive. I'm delighted that the Esholt site is now the first self-powered sewage plant in Yorkshire and is leading the way in the industry with this new technology.”
Waste coming into Esholt, which serves a population of 700,000 people in Bradford and Leeds, goes through several stages to reduce it down to the sludge which renewable energy can be generated from.
The state of the art Biothelys technology then effectively pressure cooks the sludge at 165’C, turning it into a soup-like consistency and making it easier to capture biogas from. This biogas is then fed back through pipes and combusted in an engine to generate both electricity and heat that is circulated around the large facility.
Engineering specialists Morgan Sindall and Grontmij have undertaken the major project, in what is one of the biggest contracts ever awarded by Yorkshire Water.
Simon Smith, Managing Director Utility Services for Morgan Sindall and Gavin Stonard, Director of Water & Asset Management for Grontmij, said: “The Morgan Sindall Grontmij joint venture is committed to adopting a sustainable approach on all the projects we deliver for Yorkshire Water.”
“With this in mind, we are particularly pleased to have been able to work on this project to achieve such a green and cost efficient solution to powering the sewage works, which is a prime example of sustainability by design and our value beyond engineering approach. The Morgan Sindall Grontmij joint venture looks forward to continuing its successful partnership with Yorkshire Water throughout Asset Management Period 2015-2020.”