Flag Fen Innovation

Peterborough, UK

“The innovation and success of the Flag Fen water reuse plant has earned it a number of process and environmental awards.” – Chris Deadman UK O & M Manager

The Background

Centrica is a leading integrated energy company with upstream operations such as sourcing and generating energy, and downstream operations including the supply of gas and electricity to millions of homes and businesses. Centrica’s vision is to be the most trusted energy company, leading the move to a low-carbon future.

A Centrica turbine power station used mains water in its demineralisation plant for boiler-feed water production. Although this is a widely used process, there are significant financial and environmental costs associated with the use of mains water for this purpose and the chemical regeneration of de-min resins, rinse water, waste chemical and wastewater disposal.

The Service

Along with our parent company, we approached the power station with a proposal to supply high-purity water via an innovative membrane process, utilising sewage works final effluent as its raw water source. Following successful site trials, a 10-year Build, Own and Operate (BOO) contract was signed for the Flag Fen Water Reuse Plant which operated from 2000 to 2012.

The Implementation

Commissioned in October 2000, the water reuse plant was installed at the Flag Fen sewage treatment works, approximately 1km from the power station. Final effluent from the municipal sewage treatment plant was treated at the water recycling plant using a combination of ultra-filtration (UF) and reverse osmosis (RO) membrane technology to supply the ultra-pure water for use at the power station.

The fully automated plant ran on a supply-on-demand basis, using telemetry and remote access to PC, providing stable performance and only requiring a routine operator one day a week.

The Outcomes

The water quality supplied to the power station has been excellent, providing an improved and far more predictable plant performance. Significant savings have been achieved in the de-min plant operating costs and chemical waste disposal costs. Health and safety benefits have also been achieved by reducing the handling of highly corrosive chemicals and traffic on site. Environmental and social benefits include a major reduction in the use of mains water, fewer chemicals discharged to the sewer, and less heavy goods traffic to and from the site.

Alpheus successfully operated the Flag Fen water reuse plant for over 12 years, supplying ultra-pure water to the power station delivering many financial, environmental and social benefits for Centrica and its stakeholders.

The innovation and success of the Flag Fen water reuse plant has earned it a number of process and environmental awards.