WATER flushed away from Ellesmere Port’s toilets and baths could prove to be the vital ingredient for a new green fuel.
United Utilities is backing Manchester University research investigating if algae found in wastewater from treatment works in Little Stanney could be used to produce biofuel – an environmentally friendly diesel.
Experts testing the idea have benefited from expert advice and the use of facilities at Ellesmere Port wastewater treatment plant.
According to the International Energy Agency, biofuels have the potential to meet more than a quarter of world demand for transportation fuels by 2050.
Once out of the water at Ellesmere Port, oil can be removed from the algae. This is then cleaned and blended with diesel for road use.
United Utilities is now in discussion with the university about further on-site investigations into the fuel early next year.
Both United Utilities and Manchester University are involved in a string of projects that aim to produce green fuels from wastes such as sludge and straw.
These include a 16-strong European link up called Suprabio, a four-year research project involving major companies and academic institutions from across the continent.
Son Le, technology development manager for United Utilities, said: “The key aim of our wastewater treatment is to return the water we have used back to the environment in a form and quality that is suitable for further uses.
“In this instance, the use of algae may help to provide valuable green fuel and other valuable products such as fish feed.
“We’re committed to embracing technology and science to improve the environment.”