Fat clogging a sewer pipe (Image: Southern Water)

By Zac Sherratt @SherrattZac Digital Reporter

A water company hopes to use the fat which usually clogs its sewer network to power buses in the city.

Fat, oil and grease (FOG) from participating food outlets in Brighton and Hove will be delivered to Southern Water’s treatment works where it will be mixed with FOG removed from wastewater and turned into a biofuel.

The company is targeting restaurants which collect FOG in their fat traps, rather than pouring it down the sink, which it says will expose those not using the traps, leaving them open to prosecution.

Stephen Williams, Southern Water’s network protection and enforcement officer, said: “FOG is a real curse for sewers.

“It’s a major cause of blockages and resulting pollution, but it’s also a resource.

“Getting usable oil out of the 51 million litres of wastewater that pours into Peacehaven every day, along with collections from businesses, and turning it into a useful fuel would benefit all of us and the planet.”

Fat clings to the inside of sewer walls (Image: Southern Water)

The project, which will use a waste conversion system from green technology company Eco-Clarity, could begin “as early as next year”.

And if the scheme works, it could be rolled out across the entire Southern Water network region.

Christopher Clemes, chief executive and co-founder of Eco Clarity, said: “We have developed a revolutionary technology for the recovery of FOG generated by food service establishments (FSEs).

“Eco Clarity’s FOG consolidation hubs provide accessible disposal locations for haulers to sustainably dispose of FOG containing wastewater before it enters the sewer network or waste water treatment works, where it can be a major cause of blockages, spills and costly clean-up operations.

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“Eco Clarity is able to consolidate the FOG present in this waste into a feedstock suitable for bio-diesel production, which is then blended with the diesel available at all service stations.

“This enables FSEs, haulers and water utilities who use Eco Clarity’s FOG consolidation hubs for disposal of their waste the ability to create a circular economy, by running their diesel cars and trucks on the waste that they generate.”

The company is hoping that bus companies will be interested in using the biofuel. Brighton and Hove Buses has told The Argus that there are currently no plans to use it.

Nick Hill, commercial director at the bus company, said: “We have no plans to use these particular biofuels currently, but we are always open to new ways of reducing our emissions.”