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Yorkshire Water

Renewable energy at Knostrop Waste Water Treatment Works: "Poo Power" 

Yorkshire Water supplies around 1.3 billion litres of drinking water every day while also safely returning almost 1 billion litres of waste water back to the environment.  As part of our strategic objective for sustainable resources we are cutting our carbon emissions, our waste, and our use of finite resources.

We have invested in hydro turbines, wind turbines and solar panels, but the majority of our self-generated energy comes from sewage.  Where sewage used to be seen as a waste, it is now being recognised as a valuable resource for the generation of renewable energy - we’re talking ‘poo-power’!

In 2016, we started a £72 million investment in a state-of-the-art sludge treatment and anaerobic digestion facility at Knostrop works which treats the sewage produced in Leeds.  The new facility will replace a sludge incinerator to enable the more efficient and effective treatment of sewage combined with the additional benefit of renewable power production. Once complete in 2020, the new facility will have the ability to:
•    Recycle 94% of Leeds’ sewage sludge,
•    Be capable of processing 131 tonnes of dry sludge a day,
•    Generate 55% of its own electricity demand, the equivalent of providing power to 8,000 homes,
•    Reduce the Knostrop site’s carbon emissions by 15%.

Lee Laherty, Project Manager for Yorkshire Water said; “This is the single biggest investment we are making between 2015 and 2020.  It is the latest step in our commitment to invest in renewable energy to benefit the environment and keep customers’ bills low. It also supports Leeds council’s ambition for the Lower Aire Valley to become a hub for green energy and industry.”

The Knostrop investment will enable us to generate around 18% of our total operational energy needs from 2020, increasing from around 12% today. This follows the installation of a 123m wind turbine in 2014 which already provides about 10% of the site’s energy needs. We’ve already approved investment to go even further, with a new anaerobic digestion facility approved for the treatment works in Huddersfield and a large photo voltaic contract currently being tendered.

The Knostrop facility is a great example of the circular economy in action!