A project involving the University of South Wales (USW) has been named among the winners of the inaugural Water Breakthrough Challenge, which will share a £36m fund aimed at tackling some of the biggest challenges facing the water sector in England and Wales.
A consortium involving USW, which is led by Thames Water and also includes Dwr Cyrmu Welsh Water, South West Water, United Utilities, Scottish Water, Yorkshire Water and Northumbrian Water, has been awarded more than £6m to decarbonise wastewater treatment – reducing nitrous oxide emissions and recovering beneficial resources including phosphorus and nitrogen.
The water industry consumes between two and three per cent of electricity produced in the UK – the same as around two million households – and around 55% of the energy consumed by a typical sewage works is processing wastewater. The project is developing solutions that would reduce the energy required for wastewater treatment.
Professor Sandra Esteves, project lead at the USW, said: “We have been at the forefront of R&D for anaerobic processes and recognise the importance that these bioprocesses can play in numerous sectors. The funding will enable the team to drive the novel concept integration and evaluate its impact in reducing society’s wastewater treatment energy footprint and in promoting sustainable resource recovery.”
Sarah Bentley, Thames Water CEO, said: “I’m passionate about leaving a legacy for future generations, just like the Victorians did for us. So, I’m delighted that we’ve won this award, which will allow us to change our approach to the wastewater treatment process in a way that will reduce our carbon footprint.
“It’s fantastic to be able to work alongside seven great organisations which share our drive to innovate and shape the future. I’d also like to offer my huge congratulations to all those who’ve been successful in these awards. I’m excited to see the outcomes on all of the projects being worked on.”