Cooking waste from thousands of London restaurants and food companies would go towards running the world's biggest fat-fuelled power station. The energy generated from the grease, oil and fat that clogged London's sewers will also be channelled to help power a major sewage works and a desalination plant, and supply power to the National Grid under plans announced by Thames Water and utility company 2OC.
Companies have hailed the prospect of easing the financial and logistical problems of pouring £1 million a month into clearing the drains of 40,000 fat-caused blockages as a "win-win" project.
Under the plan 30 tonnes a day of waste would be collected from leftover cooking oil supplies at eateries and manufacturers, fat traps in kitchens and pinchpoints in the sewers in London – enough to provide over half the fuel the power plant needed to run, with the rest of the fuel coming from waste vegetable oil and tallow (animal fats).
The deal, worth over £200 million in 20 years, had made possible the building of the £70 million plant at Beckton, east London, which would be financed by a consortium led by iCON Infrastructure. It would be operational in early 2015. According to 2OC no virgin oils from field or plantation crops would be used to power it.
According to Thames, Britain's biggest water company, fats, oils and greases (FOGs) were responsible for most of the blockages in its 109,000 km of sewers and removing them costs £1 million a month.
The plant would have an overall efficiency of around 97 per cent and exceptional electrical efficiency of over 65 per cent. Additional power would be generated from the recovery of thermal energy (provided by heat from the engine) via a turbo-expander in the gas stream.
This would make it one of the most efficient and 'green' power plants in the world, able to provide a constant source of electricity and heat.
It is to be financed and built by a consortium led by iCON Infrastructure Partners, the lead investor, EEA Holdings Limited and 2OC Limited, and would be integrated with National Grid's gas pressure reduction station.
Commenting on the deal, Andrew Mercer, CEO of 2OC, said, this was the culmination of many years of hard work from his world class team at 2OC. He added, this was good for 2OC, Thames Water and its customers as also the environment.
Much of the funding would come from pension funds and insurance companies, iCON Infrastructure partners.