Severn Trent recycles waste into 'super fertiliser' using world-first technology

Wednesday 1st December 2021

Severn Trent is using new carbon capture technology to recycle waste into a ‘super fertiliser’ at a treatment works near Birmingham.

In a world-first for the sector, the water and waste company has recently introduced this pioneering technology to the sewage treatment process at its Minworth site. This new solution will use captured carbon dioxide and use it to recover the goodness that’s locked inside waste, turning it into sustainable fertiliser. 

Severn Trent has joined forces with clean tech company CCm Technologies to deliver this new approach, allowing them to significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of fertilisers used by farmers and, helping Severn Trent to reach its net zero commitment by 2030.

The project has been partly funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), as part of their Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator (IEEA) programme which supports commercial scale demonstrations of novel technologies, with the potential to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, and accelerate their uptake in industry.

Severn Trent currently generates the equivalent of half the energy it needs from renewable sources – mainly from anaerobic digestion and biogas. This new process will bolster the company’s performance in this space, helping to achieve its triple carbon pledge of 100% renewable energy, net zero carbon emissions and a fleet of vehicles that are entirely electric by 2030. 

Rich Walwyn, Head of Asset Intelligence & Innovation at Severn Trent, said: “It’s exciting to see this project reach the point where the first lot of this super fertiliser is starting to roll off the conveyor belt. Using carbon capture technology, we’re able to treat waste in a much greener and more efficient way than ever before, as well as getting a fantastic product at the end, which has carbon locked into it.

“This new approach has taken us a step closer to making sure absolutely nothing is wasted in the sewage treatment process.”

Pawel Kisielewski, CEO at CCm Technologies, said: “This partnership means we can take nutrients from wastewater and turn them into fertilisers that can go back into the ground and contribute to growing healthy crops.

“Circular economy solutions like ours are crucial to addressing environmental challenges. It’s fantastic this partnership allows us to change otherwise waste resources and damaging emissions into  benefits for both the farming and water industry. Hopefully, as these solutions begin to scale, we can feel reassured that the food we’re eating and water we’re using is working with rather than against nature.”