Nov 02, 2006

Power Plants to Generate Renewable, Ultra-Clean Electricity at Wastewater Treatment Facility

FuelCell Energy, Inc., a leading manufacturer of ultra-clean electric power plants for commercial, industrial and government customers, announced that Dublin San Ramon Services District (DSRSD) has purchased two of its high efficiency Direct FuelCell (DFC) power plants to provide electric power to run its Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility located in Pleasanton, Calif. The DFC300MA power plants will generate 600 kilowatts of ultra-clean power and reduce harmful emissions by operating on fuel gas harvested from the waste treatment process.
The power plants are combined with an anaerobic digester—equipment that creates and captures usable methane fuel during the wastewater treatment cycle—and are expected to be installed next summer. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.
The wastewater treatment plant, in close proximity to residential areas, not only serves as a good neighbor by providing “green” power, but it also enables the facility to meet the more stringent emission standards that the California Air Resources Board currently is proposing. Harmful emissions are reduced because, unlike most conventional power plants which combust fuel, DFC units convert the fuel electrochemically.
“By installing fuel cell power plants running on biogas, we are able to help the community by reducing emissions and lessening the demand for power from the local grid,” said DSRSD General Manager Bert Michalczyk. “And the wastewater treatment facility benefits from having on site reliable 24/7 power that reduces the need for more expensive energy from the local utility. It’s a compelling proposition for the people in the Dublin San Ramon Service District.”
Heat from the fuel cell units will supply additional heat to the anaerobic digesters and boost the total thermal efficiency of this cogeneration application. Wastewater treatment facilities are an ideal application for DFC power plants because they can operate on anaerobic digester gas that is classified as a renewable fuel and are eligible for government incentive funding in many locations.
“The Dublin San Ramon power plant installation is FuelCell’s 13th wastewater treatment project worldwide and the fifth in California. DFC plants are particularly well suited for wastewater treatment due to their ability to produce more electricity from the same amount of digester gas than the less efficient and higher polluting combustion technologies,” said William A. Karambelas, vice president of the Western Region at FuelCell Energy. “The operating efficiency of DFC power plants, combined with our 24/7 reliability and superior emissions profile, are important drivers for customers in this market.”
The California Public Utilities Commission’s Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) has issued a reservation letter that provides incentive funding of approximately $2.7 million for this fuel cell installation. FuelCell Energy has applications totaling another $32.1 million and representing more than 8 megawatts approved for participation in the 2006 SGIP.