Sheffield student gizmo out to flatten the fatbergs

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A team of Sheffield University students could have found a solution to one of the curses of modern life - fatbergs.

Fatbergs are created when fats and oils are poured down sinks and they cool and solidify, often blocking sewers.

Currently water companies spend millions of pounds each year dealing with the problem.

Now students have created a prototype under the sink device which can be seeded with specially designed bacteria to degrade fat, oil, greases and hair.

The product – which is specifically aimed at the food industry but could also be used domestically – would cost about £100 to install.

PhD student Robert Meckin said: “Food establishments are legally obligated not to put oils and fat into the sink and currently have a variety of methods to dispose of it including grease traps or paying for someone to take the fat away.

“This product is an alternative to grease traps, it is more practical and better value for money than what is currently available.”

The students spent ten weeks over the summer developing the device which they named the ‘Fatberglar’, ​as part of a global synthetic biology competition.