Yorkshire Water has been granted permission to build a £72 million new state-of-the-art sludge treatment and anaerobic digestion facility at the company’s Knostrop waste water treatment works in the centre of Leeds.

With Yorkshire Water’s planning proposal for the bio-energy facility now approved by Leeds City Council’s planning committee, the contract has been awarded to Black & Veatch, with Clugston Construction providing the civil engineering.

Knostrop WwTW has been treating sewage from domestic properties and industry for approximately 100 years. The new facility will replace the existing sludge and bio-solid incinerator which was constructed in 1993 and enable the more efficient and effective treatment of sewage combined with the additional benefit of renewable power production from the waste water effluent.

Nevil Muncaster, Director of Asset Management at Yorkshire Water, said: “This is the single biggest investment of our current investment period (2015-2020) and will not only provide increased treatment capacity for our sludges but will also deliver significant operational cost savings, enabling us to keep customer bills as low as possible.”

“Knostrop is designated as a strategic waste site, so by increasing the future sludge and bio-solid treatment capacity of the works, the project will also support growth in the Leeds sub-regions.”

Planned for completion in 2019, the facility will be capable of processing 131 tonnes of dry sludge a day and will generate enough renewable energy, using heat and power engines, to provide 55 per cent of Knostrop’s energy needs – enough to power 8,000 homes.

Benefits of the new facility include:
• A 15 per cent reduction in carbon emissions across the company
• Knostrop will provide 55 per cent of the site’s energy needs
• The new facility will contribute to achieving 94 per cent recycling of the region’s sludge by 2020.

The project is the latest step in Yorkshire Water’s commitment to renewable energy, both to benefit the environment and to keep customer bills low. The company intends to generate approximately 18 per cent of its energy needs by 2020. The project will also support Leeds Council’s ambition for the Lower Aire Valley to become a hub for green energy and industry.

In October 2014, Yorkshire Water constructed a 123 metre-high wind turbine at Knostrop at a cost of around £3.5 million. This is already a major source of power for the site and will on average provide 10 per cent of Knostrop's energy needs.