A California plant makes the most of green energy with biogas-fueled cogeneration, solar power and a number of energy-saving process innovations.
Wastewater officials talk more and more about turning publicly owned treatment works into publicly owned power plants.
They should take a lesson from the Santa Cruz (California) Wastewater Treatment Facility.
The plant has 1,300 kW of electric power generating capacity in a cogeneration system that burns digester methane. It also operates a 53 kW solar photovoltaic system and has energy-saving water fixtures and lighting. Team members continuously monitor the plant’s energy and greenhouse gas performance. All told, the plant operates on 70 percent green power.
As a result, the plant has achieved Green Business Certification from the Monterey Bay Area Green Business program, as well as partnership status in U.S. EPA Green Power and Energy Star programs. It was named 2013 Plant of the Year in California in its size category.
Superintendent Dan Seidel points out that the plant is the city’s biggest energy consumer and presents a great opportunity to use on-site renewable energy. Greg Galvin, electrical supervisor and certified energy manager, observes, “Over the past four years we have increased our uptime and our methane gas production, while reducing our kilowatt-hours per gallon treated. That allows us to reduce our carbon footprint and operate in a more sustainable fashion.”
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