The microturbine cogeneration project generates electricity by burning methane gas that is a byproduct of the on-site anaerobic digestion process used to treat wastewater at the facility. The microturbines are essentially small jet engines that generate 2.5 million KWH of electricity saving more than $277,000 in annual energy costs.
Additional microturbines that are part of the project burn commercial natural gas to provide backup operational electrical power and to permit plant operators to manage peak electrical power demand, which also controls energy costs and can save an additional $19,000 or more per year.
The project design also captures exhaust heat from the microturbines for use in heating digesters and on-site buildings. The project reduces reliance on fossil fuels, which significantly reduces air pollutants.
A gas conditioning system is used to compress digester gas for maximum efficiency and to remove compounds that would be harmful to the turbines.
The project timeline was only 18 months from conception to completion of construction. The project trims operating costs, reduces the plant’s dependence of fossil fuels and protects the environment. This innovative approach to methane recovery and heat generation demonstrates the York Sewer Authority’s commitment to energy and operating efficiencies and the community.