Green Groweth the Holly

As 2010 is drawing to a close, one lesson I learned about achieving green dreams is the merit of ingenuity as opposed to trying to make the ancient family car start by repeatedly kicking it.

How did I come so far outside of the box? Well, because the industry did. In the UK that is! I think that I can safely say they are this year’s winner of the Most Creative in the Quest for Alternative Energy Award.

A personal favorite that I recently wrote about is Adnams Bio Energy anaerobic digestion plan – working in partnership with National Grid – which uses brewery and local food waste to produce renewable gas to be used as liquid fuel.

There are also firms that flex unpredictable muscles of imagination such as EDF energy, REA (Renewable Energy Association), Segen Microgeneration, PPL Training and British Eco to name a few.

Here are some more surprises:

At Didcot sewage works in Oxfordshire, England, Centrica will be producing renewable gas from sewage for the use of households.

Here’s how it works:

Sewage arrives at the plant, is stored for 18 days, and is turned to sludge – then the solid part of the waste is further treated in anaerobic digestion – similar to Adnams’ green beer gag (plus other companies have come up with similar ideas) – so that bacteria breaks down the biodegradable material and behold: you’ve got enough gas to power about 200 homes!

Of course the gas is cleaned before it is fed into the grid. This process takes around 20 days from lavatory flush to the re-piping into homes.

This is the first time in the history of turning sewage into gas through anaerobic digestion that the bio-gas has been pumped directly into the grid for home use.

The project is a joint venture between Thames Water, British Gas and Scotia Gas Networks and costs about $4.3m.

It is held by those who know that 15% of all gas consumed could come from human waste, sewage and food thrown away by supermarkets and households.

Meanwhile, Centrica plc, the parent company of British Gas, today announced that its British Gas division has acquired a 15.96% stake in AlertMe, a UK based company providing home energy management services, for $9m cash. British Gas, following the transaction, will also hold a seat on AlertMe’s Board.

As part of the investment, the increasingly eco-minded British Gas signed a commercial agreement, potentially worth over $32m, to deploy AlertMe products and services to UK customers and help them to save energy and providing smarter ways to take control of their energy use.

Prince Charles

OK OK – and here’s the Really Big UK Green News – I mean Royal!

One Prince Charles, heir to the throne of Wales is supping up his Gloucestershire estate with ground and air source heat pumps to reduce carbon emissions and cut electricity bills!

The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall say that the nations have less than 100 months to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change.

Who’s doing the job? Why, it’s one Ecovision Systems

He’s working quick to reduce his “fossil fuel footprint” also at his Highgrove digs and his Georgian home.

The Prince, whose annual report last year revealed that his household had generated 18% less C02 emissions than the previous year, declares himself “carbon neutral” because he “offsets” his emissions through an outside agency.

At Highgrove he has installed solar panels and woodchip boilers; rainwater is collected and used to irrigate land and flush bathrooms! The estate’s insulation is eco-friendly thanks to a double-glazing and reed-bed sewage processing system.

All of which is installed by Ecovision Systems, a firm that has also installed equipment at historic English houses such as Castle Howard in North Yorkshire and Harrow School in north-west London.

Cheers to the UK! The world of green energy apparently has a lot to live up to!

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