HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc167-8
12. Mr. Braine

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works, as representing the Lord President of the Council, what stage has been reached in research by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research into the production of sulphur by bacteria.

Mr. H. Nicholls

The Chemical Research Laboratory of the Department has developed a process for the production of sulphur from raw sewage sludge to which calcium sulphate has been added. This has operated in a 50-gallon plant at Beckton successfully. The work has been undertaken in collaboration with the London County Council, which is now considering the installation of a 100,000-gallon plant for full-scale development trials.

Mr. Braine

Can my hon. Friend take the matter a little further? Can he say whether the process is likely to prove economical, and whether, in view of the experiments of the London County Council, it can now be recommended to all local authorities?

Mr. Nicholls

It is not yet at a stage at which it should be recommended to all local authorities. We must await the final results of the tests at Beckton. It has proved economical in the sense that the system removes a large amount of water, which means that the amount to be carried away is about half the quantity it would otherwise be. This means a great saving.

Mr. Hastings

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether sulphur is actually produced in elemental form or in what way?

Mr. Nicholls

I should be grateful if the hon. Member would put that question on the Order Paper.