Seafield reaches Renewable Energy Milestone

31 January 2023
Waste water treatment works

Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works

The works now generates more power than it needs

Huge step forward in renewable energy generation at Scotland’s largest waste water treatment works.

Scotland’s largest, waste water treatment works is now generating all of its own power and supplying enough surplus renewable electricity to power 800 homes each day.

January 2023 marks six months of Seafield becoming a net exporter of energy, consistently producing up to 25% more renewable electricity than it consumes. This is done through innovative technologies, including anaerobic digestion, thermal hydrolysis and combined heat and power engines.

Seafield, located in Leith, Edinburgh, treats approximately to 300 million litres of wastewater every day – enough to fill 121 Olympic sized swimming pools. 

Site operator, Veolia, is helping Scottish Water to achieve its Net Zero ambitions through these innovations at the plant. 

John Abraham, Chief Operating Officer Water at Veolia said: “Recent estimates indicate that the water industry could be self-sustaining for electricity by harnessing the 11 billion litre annual flow of waste water. 

“Our application of technology to this process at Seafield demonstrates how we can help deliver greater sustainability, make a significant contribution towards delivering renewable energy targets, and take pressure off the National Grid.

"This achievement really demonstrates what is possible now, and the future shows an even greater potential for this technology."

Gordon Reid, Net Zero Emission General Manager at Scottish Water said: “Scottish Water has one of the most ambitious Net Zero emission targets in the industry. We are a very large energy user and achieving energy self-sufficiency at a site like Seafield is a key milestone for us.”

A further benefit of the processes used is the nutrient rich by-product it produces which can be used by farmers as a fertiliser. Around 36,000 tonnes of this fertiliser are produced each year and act as a low cost, highly effective alternative to traditional chemical based fertilisers that are normally used to provide vital soil nutrients for agriculture.