New Slough reactor turns sewage into fertiliser

Nov 6, 2013

Horizons, BBC World News

A £2m reactor that turns sewage into fertiliser has been installed by Thames Water at a plant in Berkshire.


The nutrient-recovery facility takes waste water from the Slough Trading Estate and turns the phosphorus in it into crystalline fertiliser pellets.

The company says it is the first of its kind in Europe and will save it £200,000 a year, which it will pass on to its 14 million customers.

About 150 tonnes a year of fertiliser will be produced and sold to farmers.

Phosphorus is the key ingredient in fertiliser and is usually mined in countries such as Morocco, China and the US.

Peter Melchett of the Soil Association said: “With the world’s affordable mineable reserves of phosphorus set to start running out in the next 20 to 30 years, this new technology could offer a solution to securing global food supplies over the coming decades.

“Without fertilisation from phosphorus, wheat crop yields will fall by more than half.

“Meanwhile, as the planet’s population is predicted to hit nine billion by 2050, demand for food will increase.”

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