Energy recovery

Our eight Energy Recovery Facilities (ERFs) transform waste into electricity. In 2013, we converted over 1.8 million tonnes of waste into clean energy and sold sufficient energy to the national grid to power nearly 200,000 homes. This is the circular economy in action.

Households heated by their own waste

Veolia has partnered with Southwark Council to launch London’s first energy from waste district heating network. Energy generated from the South-East London Combined Heat and Power facility provides heat to 2,500 homes in Bermondsey, Southwark.

The pioneering scheme presents a viable alternative to traditional gas-fired boilers and will provide sustainable and secure heating for the five estates in Bermondsey. The network will reduce carbon emissions by 8,000 tonnes each year, the equivalent of taking 2,700 cars off the road. This will equate to long-term energy cost savings to residents. 

  1. Black bags of refuse are collected from Southwark homes.
  2. Black bags are taken to the Southwark Integrated Waste Management Facility.
  3. Recyclables are extracted from black bag waste. Remaining black bag waste is decomposed to create a fuel for energy recovery. 
  4. Fuel is taken to SELCHP (South East London Combined Heat and Power)
  5. Energy recovered by burning the fuel is used to heat water. The rest of the energy in the fuel is made into electricity and exported to the National Grid where it powers homes and businesses.
  6. Hot water is piped to Southwark homes near SELCHP.

District heating by numbers

£7 million investment in the project

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8,000 tonnes of CO2 saved every year

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2,500 Southwark homes benefit from secure, sustainable long-term heat

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1-2 weeks is the time needed to turn the black bag waste into fuel for energy recovery

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1.2 miles is the distance from Southwark to SELCHP

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2 miles is the length of the pipe network that is used to transport hot water to homes

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Find out more about how we are recovering energy from waste in our animation.

Clean energy for Scottish Water
We’ve been working closely with Scottish Water atSeafield, which treats the wastewater for nearly 1 million people in Edinburgh. The plant is now around 75% self-sufficient in electricity from biogas with the aim of reaching 100% by 2014.