Alternative Energy

Published on June 18th, 2009 | by Guest Contributor


Manchester, U.K. Producing Methane from Human Waste

Cities across the world have begun to embrace methane gas produced from human waste. Now Manchester, U.K. has announced an ambitious scheme to convert sewage produced by city residents to biomethane in waste water treatment plants.


Waste water treatment plants will use human waste to create biomethane

While most sewage plants burn raw methane to create electricity, Manchester’s plant cleans the gas by removing CO2, moisture, and sulfides from the mix. The clear, odorless gas will have to be given a fake gas-like smell before it can be pumped into homes.

Manchester’s $7 million system, developed by National Grid and United Utilities, will produce enough biomethane to power 500 homes when it comes online in 2011. Human waste will also be used to power the utilities’ sludge tankers. In the future, Manchester’s sewage plant–the second largest in Britain–will produce enough waste-based biomethane for 5,000 homes. Eventually, the U.K. plans to use the biomethane in sewage plants around the country.

Last year, San Antonio, Texas announced a similar plan to harvest methane gas from human waste. When the sewage plant goes online, it will harvest 90% of San Antonio’s toilet and sink waste to generate 1.5 million cubic feet of natural gas each day.

[Via BBC News]

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