Great Britain’s biggest water company, Thames Water, has teamed up with green utility company 2OC to run what is expected to become the world’s largest fat-fueled power station.
The East London facility will be powered by spent cooking oil and grease produced by London restaurants, homes and food manufacturers.
Utility company 2OC says in a press release that the plant will “pioneer the use of fuels derived from fats, oils and greases (FOGs) which would otherwise be tipped down the drain or dumped in landfill.”
The facility will produce an estimated 130 Gigawatt hours a year of renewable electricity–enough to power 39,000 average-sized homes.
The energy generated from the grease will also be channeled to help run a major sewage works and desalination plant. Exta energy will be diverted to the national energy grid.
“This is good for us, the environment, Thames Water and its customers. Our renewable power and heat from waste oils and fats is fully sustainable,” said Andrew Mercer, chief executive of 2OC, in a press release.
Waste vegetable oils and fat for the new plant will be collected from food outlets and manufacturers. Thames Water says that solidified grease will also be harvested from “fat traps” from restaurant kitchens and London’s sewer network.
The facility is expected to help ease the problem of sewer blockages, also known as “fatburgs.” Thames Water removes 80,000 fat blockages from London’s antiquated sewer system every year, which costs the company one million pounds a month to clean up. Half of the blockages are caused by fat wrongly poured down drains, the company says.