The advance of desalination (Day 239)

Water tapIn 2013, IChemE took a glance into the future and highlighted how many desalination plants there might be in the UK by 2050.

Desalination plants are rare in relatively wet countries like the UK, but fairly common in Southern Europe and the Middle East.

More recently countries such as Australia has invested in desalination plants to solve some of their drought problems, with around eight facilities either built, in progress or planned since 2006.

Worldwide, there are around 13,000 desalination plants in operation or under construction in 150 countries.

By 2050, DesalData predict that the number of desalination plants across the world will more than double with a further 18,500 desalination plants becoming operational.

Continue reading The advance of desalination (Day 239)

Avoiding the dreaded ‘fatbergs’ (Day 110)

A FOG blocking a sewage pipe - Image courtesy of Severn Trent Water
A FOG blocking a sewage pipe – Image courtesy of Severn Trent Water

Fatbergs recently received some news coverage in the UK, with a giant fatberg – 80 metres in length – being found in a west London sewer by Thames Water. So, to put that in perspective, 80 metres is the length of a commercial plane.

For those of you who don’t know exactly what a fatberg is, it is the term given to the solidified lump of fat that can cause blockages in sewer systems.

The problem stems from people pouring hot cooking oil down the sink, and when the oil hits the cold temperature of the sewers, it solidifies to fat. Wet wipes, food, cotton buds and litter can easily cling to this fat and form congealed masses or fatbergs.

Another phrase used in the water industry, for example at Severn Trent Water, to describe these unpleasant wastewater blockers are ‘FOGs’ – fats, oil and grease.

Continue reading Avoiding the dreaded ‘fatbergs’ (Day 110)