June 17, 2024

RestaurantFatCooking waste is not something anybody likes to dwell on, but in an ambitious multi-million dollar deal announced by the renewable energy company 2OC and Thames Water, grease, oil, and fat from thousands of London restaurants and food companies will live out a second life as fuel for a power station. By 2015, Beckton, in East London, is slated to become the world’s largest fat-fuelled power station, capable of producing 130 gigawatt hours of renewable electricity, or enough energy to run 39,000 average-sized homes. Fat poured down the drain creates fatbergs – who knew? – which cause blockages and cost taxpayers upwards of a million and a half dollars per month to clear. Rather than dumping all that waste down the drain or into landfills, the sustainable initiative will collect thirty tons of waste per day – more than half the fuel the plant needs to operate daily. The rest will come from waste vegetable oil and animal fats. The concept could prove a windfall for creating a more sustainable food system, ensuring that food waste is dealt with in an innovative and appropriate manner. As Chief Executive Officer of 2OC, Andrew Mercer, explains, “Our renewable power and heat from waste oils and fats is fully sustainable. When Thames doesn’t need our output, it will be made available to the grid meaning that power will be sourced, generated and used in London by Londoners.” It’s like grandma always said: waste not, want not.

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