Waste can produce energy

PUBLISHED: 14:04 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 10:20 04 May 2010

I WAS interested to read in your paper of March 13 that a grant of £685,000 has been given to pay for a feasibility study to move the sewage plant from Willow Walk. You may recall that in my letter to you last November I suggested that if a new sewage wo

I WAS interested to read in your paper of March 13 that a grant of £685,000 has been given to pay for a feasibility study to move the sewage plant from Willow Walk.

You may recall that in my letter to you last November I suggested that if a new sewage works was required it might be worth investigating if a plant could be built to harvest the latent energy contained in the sewage. I sincerely hope that this possibility will be considered by those carrying out the feasibility study.

At the time of my original letter I only assumed that this could be possible however, in the Sunday Telegraph of January 6, there was a report that the Prince of Wales had been advocating that farmers should use farm manure to produce energy. To quote 'technology that uses bacteria to break down animal manure and other waste can produce bio-gas which can, in turn, generate heat and electricity.' So the technology exists and I am sure that human manure must be just as usable'.

I gathered from a letter some time ago in your paper that the brown sack compost is both expensive to produce and, due to lack of demand, is being used in the land fill sites thus negating any benefit from recycling. Maybe this is also a suitable material, shredded and mixed with the sewage, for bacterial action to produce energy.

Of course, such a plant will be more expensive to build but it would yield significant quantities of power in the form of gas.

However, the most important benefit would be a reduction of carbon emissions, as it would be a renewable source of energy, and a reduction of methane in the atmosphere.

I was also querying how anyone could state the percentage of waste that was recycled since people recycle in various ways, including home composting. I also asked for someone to explain why I would recycle more if my rubbish was collected fortnightly. The lack of comment from the people who, until that time, had been complaining in your letters column about the decision to continue weekly collections and the claimed increase in recycled percentages in the trials, suggests to me that I was correct to suppose that there is no evidence that can prove that recycling percentages are improved if people are made to live with their smelly rubbish for two weeks.

I would like to end with a plea again that the local waste authority, which I believe is Cambridgeshire County Council, should seriously consider building a waste incinerator to reduce the volume of rubbish going to land fill and to maximise their recycling by turning otherwise unrecyclable waste into electricity.

Please remember if we do not start reducing the level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, someone recently calculated that Ely will be an island again, due to rising sea levels, by 2050. What worth riverside housing developments then?

I ROBERTON

Ely

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