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As the wastewater is treated, bacteria in digester tanks break down the biosolids, but in doing so create a bi-product of methane-rich gas.
Fortunately, this biogas is captured and repurposed as fuel via internal combustion engines, helping power and heat the plant. Some of the heat is actually reused in the treatment process to help break down the waste. It's an efficient, cyclical process that reduces GHGs and helps the plant be more self-sufficient.
For an industrial project of this scale, it’s imperative that no detail be overlooked. Harder yet, the wastewater treatment process can’t be disrupted during the construction or commissioning. The community it serves depends on it.
So, the operators of the wastewater plant partnered with Envari, to help design the best long-term solution, factoring all life cycle costs for power and power redundancy requirements on site. The proposed design includes replacing the existing cogeneration facility, trading all three 800-kW cogenerators for larger, 1-MW engines – and adding a fourth – to increase performance and harness 100% of the plant’s biogas for electricity and heat. In other words: using as much free energy as possible.
These upgrades are estimated to cut utility expenses by $80 million over 25 years as well as 1,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly. Also, the new cogeneration facility will be sized for a fifth engine to anticipate future volumes.