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Innovation round-up: Anglian and Yorkshire invest in bathing water projects, WPD investigates heat pump flexibility

Ahead of the WWT Wastewater 2022 Conference, Innovate’s round-up includes updates on bathing water disinfection projects from Anglian and Yorkshire Water. Elsewhere Drax, WPD and Sembcorp provided project news.

WPD launches residential heat pump flexibility project

Western Power Distribution (WPD) has announced the launch of Equinox – a £15.38 million scheme to unlock flexibility from residential low carbon heating technology such as heat pumps.

Alongside partners including SP Energy Networks, Octopus Energy, West Midlands Combined Authority and the Welsh Government, WPD will develop commercial arrangements and supporting technologies needed to unlock flexibility from residential low carbon heating.

Stuart Fowler, WPD innovation engineer, said: “WPD believes that everyone should be able to access the benefits that can be offered through heat flexibility. In our Equinox project, we want to make this happen by developing and trialing the commercial arrangements that are needed for this to become a reality.

“Through unlocking the flexibility of heat pumps, we hope that the project will allow DNOs to effectively plan investment and reduce barriers for all residential customers to provide flexibility.”

Equinox is currently planned to run from March 2022 to January 2026.

Drax to invest £40m in BECCS project in 2022

As reported by Utility Week, Drax plans to invest £40 million in the first phase of its bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project in 2022, the company has announced.

As part of this investment, Drax has awarded a contract with the Australian industrial engineering firm Worley to start front-end engineering and design at the beginning of next year for the two BECCS units it is planning to build at its power station in North Yorkshire.

Drax will also begin site preparation, including relocation and decommissioning work to make space for the units, which it is aiming to start building in 2024 and begin operating by 2027. It has already kicked off the process of seeking planning permission for the units.

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Anglian £600,000 PFA innovation boosts bathing water classification

Anglian Water has invested £600,000 in trialing an innovative technology at Southwold Water Recycling Centre (WRC) which has helped lead to improved bathing water quality on the coast.

In 2019, Anglian Water began trialing PerFormic Acid (PFA) – a biodegradable form of disinfection, most commonly used in medical fields and food industry – as a disinfectant at Southwold WRC to provide an additional layer of cleaning to the treated wastewater at the site, before it is returned to the sea.

Traditionally, water companies have used ultraviolet light (UV) to carry out this function for bathing waters, but PFA offers a much lower carbon alternative, according to Anglian.

Since the installation of the technology, both Southwold beaches have improved upon their 2020 bathing water classification, with the Southwold Pier beach regaining its “excellent” status – making it eligible for a Blue Flag international water quality award.

Anglian is now working towards installing a disinfection solution permanently at the site.

Sembcorp to build 360MW battery system in Teesside

Sembcorp Energy UK has revealed plans to build Europe’s largest battery storage system at the Wilton International chemicals park in Teesside, according to reports by Utility Week.

The company said it already has the land and grid connections available to enable the swift installation of the batteries, which will have a generation capacity of 360MW and will be deployed in tranches.

Sembcorp said it is currently looking at two-hour duration batteries that would give the facility a storage capacity of 720MWh.

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Yorkshire outlines £13m investment to improve River Wharfe

Yorkshire Water has earmarked £13m for investment in its wastewater network and treatment works upstream of a stretch of the River Wharfe at Ilkley designated as an inland bathing water.

Modelling has indicated that during periods of dry weather the main contributors to background bacteria were from agricultural operations, local domestic waste patterns, misconnections, and treatment works at Beamsley, Draughton and Grassington.

With this in mind, Yorkshire is pledging up to £13m towards enhanced disinfection measures, work to investigate misconnections in the catchment and a scheme to reroute the sewer network in some areas of Ilkley. A project is also already underway to upgrade Rivadale CSO as part of this investment.

“While our investment will help improve water quality, it alone will not guarantee an improvement in the bathing water classification,” Ben Roche, director of wastewater at Yorkshire Water, said.

“Our modelling indicates pollution is entering the watercourses from a variety of sources, including misconnections and agricultural land which the river and its tributaries run through. It is important other landowners and stakeholders take action to ensure water quality is improved in the future, with the ultimate aim of improving the bathing water classification.”

Birmingham Energy Institute project sets sights on global energy grid

Researchers at the Birmingham Energy Institute are working alongside C-EPRI Electric Power Engineering (C-EPRI) to build an industrial scale prototype of next generation high-voltage, direct current (HDVC) technology that they claim could pave the way for a global electricity grid based on renewable energy.

Their global grid vision involves connecting renewable energy supply from 14 regions spanning all continents and time zones.

A team led by Professor Xiao-Ping Zhang, director of smart grid at the University of Birmingham, will harness a number of innovations to improve reliability and efficiency of HVDC power transmission systems – which are used for the bulk transmission of electricity.

The researchers recently published an economic analysis revealing that pairing HVDC transmission with 100% renewable energy generation could deliver a minimum of 20% cost savings.

“The prototype based on our theoretical model is now under development and our research aims to increase the availability of renewable energy – by improving the efficiency and reliability of transmission to reduce costs for householders and businesses,” Professor Zhang commented.

WATR and Anglian complete 12-month water monitoring trial

A water quality monitoring collaboration between Anglian Water and smart water monitor producer WATR has successfully transitioned from “innovation” to “business as usual” according to the latter’s founder – with data from WATR units now fully integrated into Anglian Water’s data analytics platform.

During a 12-month trial, WATR’s water quality monitors were deployed and networked along a stretch of catchment upstream of abstraction points. Initially it was felt the data would only be useful to observe trends in the water quality however it has since been deployed more broadly.

“The trial was initially delayed because of Covid and some early iterative design changes to the product,” Stuart Knott, innovation project manager at Anglian Water reflected. “However, working closely with WATR we have seen the product evolve through collaboration, hard work and responsiveness to our needs.

“The sensors are appealing because they are easily deployed and operate independently. Having had a look at all the results, I’m extremely happy with the performance of the units.”

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