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Human waste to be converted into renewable energy at UK festival

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Reading Festival, one of the UK’s most iconic events, will be turning human waste into renewable energy.

Waste produced by festivalgoers will be collected at the site and converted into electricity. The waste products will be collected by Thames Water during the five-day event as part of a green energy drive by the organisers.

Nine tankers with the capacity to carry 19,000 litres of sewage will work from 6am until 10pm every day to collect the water, before transporting it to Reading sewage works. It’s estimated that more than 750,000 litres of sewage will be collected by contractors A1 Group during the event. The firm will ensure that non-suitable objects are filtered out before the sewage is treated.

The process works by extracting gas from a by-product called ‘sludge’, which will then generate electricity for the Island Road plant in Reading. It’s estimated the waste gathered from the festival will generate enough electricity to power two homes for a day.

In an ITV report, Andrew Glover of Thames Water’s commercial operations team said: “Reading Festival is one of the biggest events in our calendar, but we’re raring to go. We’ll be working 16 hours a day for five days, collecting and treating a total of 750,000 litres of sewage from the site’s toilets.

“Festival loos are infamous for their pong, but it’s amazing to see what else people flush down there each year. We’ve previously had to drag out tents, sleeping bags and foil blankets, along with small items like mobile phones, beer cans and clothes so that they don’t clog up our machines.”

Reading Festival will take place from 23 August to 25 August.