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Sustainability Leaders Awards 2012


regional sludge treatment centre (RSTC) which dried raw sludge, making it rela- tively unique in Europe.


This maximised the potential for the sludge to be used as a fuel by maintain- ing a higher calorific value in the final product which provided a sustainable disposal outlet, either to agriculture or as a fuel.


show that emissions have fallen by 20% in the last four years, while today NWL is treating 300,000 tonnes of sludge cake per annum to produce around 80,000 MWh of renewable electricity, or 40% of the energy needs for the entire cycle of pumping and treatment of wastewater in the company. However, making these sort of opera- tional improvements has been on the company’s agenda for over 15 years. Up to 1995 all of NWL’s sewage sludge was transported by ship and disposed of at sea, when in 1997 it replaced this prac- tice by investing in an award winning


Since then, concerns about the appli- cation of sludge to land have reced- ed, energy costs have risen and climate change has become recognised as one of the greatest challenges to our future. In order to stay a head of the game and tackle these issues, the company has ensured that technological development has led its operations. NWL’s achievement is highlighted by claims that AAD plants are complex and costly, making them uneconomic to employ on sites where sludge volumes are low.


Its success is now seeing other water companies follow suit as NWL spreads the environmental benefits across the UK and further afield, expanding awareness in the industry by sharing commission- ing experiences with fellow water com- panies so they can also reap the benefits.


NWL continues to push the barriers of producing energy from sewer waste and is currently investigating how to clean and directly inject biogas into the national gas grid and introducing alter- native feedstock’s (e.g. food waste) to increase site performance.


JUDGES COMMENTS: This is innovation in a sector that needs to be pulled along by the nose a bit. If something like this has potential and encourages other Water Companies to go down this route that’s great. They’ve done it at two sites – it’s at scale, so they’ve not mucked about


FINALISTS Met Office & Sungift Solar Met Police National Trust & Prescient Power Tesco Waitrose & MITIE


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