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SGN chosen for Thames Water biogas installations

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SGN Commercial Services (SGN) will design, construct, operate, and maintain biogas processing installations at Thames Water’s wastewater treatment facilities in the UK.

SGN has worked on around 30 new plant installations, including its world-first biomethane injection and blending hub at Portsdown Hill, Portsmouth. The company forms part of the SGN Group, which owns and operates gas distribution networks in the south of England, across Scotland, and in the west of Northern Ireland.

The initial project under the £70 million (€81 million) eight-year framework contract will be located at Thames Waters’ Deephams sewage treatment site in Edmonton, North London. Sewage will be used to create biomethane as a heat and power alternative, which will help offset more than 8,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere annually.

The £7.3 million (€8.5 million) project will see the implementation of biogas upgrading and grid entry equipment to enable biomethane injection into the local gas pipeline infrastructure. Gas generated during the sewage treatment process will produce six million m3 of methane annually – enough to heat 3,500 homes.

The implementation phase at Deephams began earlier this year and is expected to be completed by March 2022.

The UK’s wastewater sector has the potential to generate enough biogas to heat over 360,000 homes each year through injection into the UK gas grid, helping to ‘green’ the gas distribution network, reducing carbon emissions and meeting UK Government net-zero targets.

A large proportion of the UK water sector’s AD facilities currently used gas to generate power through CHP engines, but with the water sector committed to reaching net zero by 2030, gas-to-grid technology is expected to become increasingly important as CHPs reach the end of their lives and Renewal Obligation Certificates subsidies decline.

Thames Water is an early adopter of gas-to-grid technology and completed the first industry project at its facility in Didcot, Oxfordshire, in 2010. The firm now plans to increase its gas-to-grid installations and has chosen SGN to work alongside it on these projects.

Francis Paonessa, capital delivery director at Thames Water, said: “We’re delighted to be working with SGN on this opportunity to create clean, green biogas using waste sludge from the sewage treatment process.

“Installing this new technology means we can give back to our communities by using the leftover gas from our sewage treatment process to heat local homes with renewable energy. It will help in our plans to become a carbon-negative business by 2040 with the first milestone: net zero 2030.”