Image credit: Steven Depolo, used under Creative Commons license
We've already seen one company in the UK selling biogas direct to the consumer, and extolling its vegan virtues too. Now households in Oxfordshire, UK, will be cooking and heating their homes using biogas produced from their own sewage. Undoubtedly there will be some who find the idea revolting, but ultimately it is a pretty smart, clean way to deal with our waste. And I guess that this kind of biogas is vegan too. The BBC reports that a small pilot project has just launched in Didcot, Oxfordshire, in which 200 homes will be supplied with biomethane from a local sewage plant. The project is a collaboration between British Gas, Thames Water and Scotia Gas Networks. Interestingly, British Gas previously took issue with Ecotricity's marketing of their biogas as "the real British Gas". This may have been why.
Biogas has long been used in the UK to generate electricity, but this is one of the first times that it is being used as a direct energy source in British homes. The new plant is sited at a facility already producing electricity, but the additional equipment harvests spare biogas and converts it to biomethane, which is then supplied to homes for use in cooking and gas central heating using the existing pipeline infrastructure. According to the BBC at least, the initial response from consumers has been positive, as testimony from Mother-of-two Kathryn Rushton shows:
"I told my children about it and at first they wrinkled their noses but then they thought it was a great idea""It's made from something we all produce and it's renewable. We're struggling to find sources of energy so we should use whatever we can. I'm definitely a supporter of this."
More on Biogas and Energy from Waste
Green Gas Controversy: Renewable Pioneer vs. Major Utility
Biogas from Waste, Direct to the Consumer. It's Vegan Too!
Duke University Turns Pig Poop into Power (Video)