A coalition of businesses are claiming a UK first now that biomethane gas from the Didcot sewage works in Oxfordshire is producing enough renewable gas to supply up to 200 homes.

The project, a joint venture between Thames Water, British Gas and Scotia Gas Networks, transforms sludge – the solid part of sewage – through anaerobic digestion into biogas.

According to a study by National Grid, it could account for at least 15% of the domestic gas market by 2020.

Energy and climate change secretary, Chris Huhne, said: “It’s not every day that a Secretary of State can announce that, for the first time ever in the UK, people can cook and heat their homes with gas generated from sewage.

“This is an historic day for the companies involved, for energy from waste technologies, and for progress to increase the amount of renewable energy in the UK.

“I know there are other similar projects across the country that are close to completion, so this is just the start of a new era of renewable energy.”

Chief executive of Thames Water, Martin Baggs, said: “We already produce £15m a year of electricity by burning biogas from the 2.8bn litres a day of sewage produced by our 14m customers.

“Feeding this renewable gas directly into the gas grid is the logical next step in our ‘energy from waste’ business.

“What we have jointly achieved at Didcot is a sign of what is to come, which can be replicated across our network and indeed the whole country. Every sewage works in Britain is a potential source of local renewable gas waiting to be put to use.”

Luke Walsh

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