Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Human waste turned into renewable gas to power homes

Gas ringNext time you flush the toilet, you could be doing your bit for green energy. After being stored for 18 days, human waste will from today be returning to homes in the form of renewable gas.

Centrica is opening a plant at Didcot sewage works which will be the first in the UK to produce renewable gas for households to use.

National Grid believes that at least 15% of all gas consumed could be made from sewage slurry, old sandwiches and other food thrown away by supermarkets, as well as organic waste created by businesses such as breweries.

However, there are fears in the industry that the government's spending cuts could make it more difficult for companies to come up with the £10bn needed to develop the new plants and pipelines.

Because it is more expensive to produce renewable gas, companies say they need to be paid twice the market rate for it to make economic sense.

But a proposed subsidy, scheduled to come into force in April, has yet to be approved and there is speculation that the government could delay or scrap it.

The Didcot facility is a pilot project to demonstrate the technology and will supply about 200 homes with gas. The project is a joint venture between Thames Water, British Gas and Scotia Gas Networks. ...

Methane is produced and then it is purified ready for use. ...

via Human waste turned into renewable gas to power homes | Environment | guardian.co.uk.

A long time ago the US Congress considered human gas as a potential form of energy.  Flatulence is primarily methane, which unfortunately is a powerful green-house gas which contributes to global warming.
Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources - epa.gov

When burned, methane produces  NO2 (a prominent air pollutant,) lower atmospheric ozone and the other components of smog.  Methane is already pumped into homes as natural gas and it could become a major energy source, but if it is improperly used,  it could devastate our environment.

1 comment:

Ann said...

Its combustion doesn't completely release methane from contributing to global warming, because nitrous oxide (NO2) that results from its combustion is also a green house gas (GHG), although a less significant one, but a GHG nonetheless.