Severn Trent scoops industry award for ‘Net Zero Carbon Initiative of the Year’

3rd July 2023

Severn Trent’s ambitious plans to deliver net zero wastewater treatment has come out on top at one of the most prestigious industry awards.

The water company’s ground-breaking work, which includes the creation of a new £40 million ‘net zero hub’, won the coveted title of ‘Net Zero Carbon Initiative of the Year’ at the recent Water Industry Awards 2023.

The Midlands-based business was recognised for its important role in helping the water sector reach net zero by 2030, by driving game-changing innovation and potentially changing the face of wastewater treatment worldwide.

As a result of Severn Trent’s industry-leading monitoring which uses fixed and drone mounted sensors, the UK has, for the first time, physical measurements for its wastewater process emissions, allowing the water company to prioritise and accelerate its carbon innovation.

At its Resource Recovery and Innovation Centre in Redditch, Severn Trent has worked with academics and technology providers to successfully develop and trial operational and digital technologies to directly reduce emissions and lower its carbon footprint.

This valuable work has led to the creation of Severn Trent’s new ‘net zero hub’ in Staffordshire which will house the world’s first carbon neutral wastewater treatment plant, as well as some of the most promising technologies from around the world.

The project will see processes integrated on one site to reduce and remove carbon – eradicating 34,000 tonnes of carbon per year, which is equivalent to a person flying return between London and New York, 34,500 times.

Rich Walwyn, Head of Asset Intelligence and Innovation at Severn Trent, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this award and be recognised by leaders and experts within the water industry for our work to deliver net zero wastewater treatment.

“We, at Severn Trent, have been innovating and leading on carbon reduction for over 60 years and our latest work, including the new ‘net zero hub’, takes this a step further and has the potential to change the face of wastewater treatment worldwide.”

The new hub is backed by all UK and Irish water companies and the international Net Zero Partnership with Aarhus Vand in Denmark and Melbourne Water in Australia and involves collaboration with technology providers around the world.

Among the new processes on site is a technology from waste and water group SUEZ, called ‘Actilayer’, a novel cover for activated sludge plants which reduces levels of nitrous oxide, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, to low levels through the use of catalytic material and the power of sunlight.

Other projects include Cellulose Recovery from Dutch company Cirtec, which is a long-held ambition in the UK to remove toilet paper from sewage and recycle it into a valuable, sustainable material that can be used for another purpose such as insulation or in construction products.

Based at one of Severn Trent’s biggest sites that serves Stoke-on-Trent, the hub will support Severn Trent’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and protecting the environment, while creating a ‘blueprint’ for all water companies to help them achieve their own net zero commitments.

Rich added: “While combating the climate emergency is a huge challenge, it is one that we are determined to meet, and collaborating with industry experts and water companies – be it here in the UK or overseas – is key to bringing about change.”