Fuel Cell Converting Waste to Energy Comes Online at San José Facility

28 Sep 2012

San Jose Water TreatmentAnaergia Inc., which specialises in the generation of energy from organic waste, has announced that the renewable energy plant at the City of San José Water Pollution Control Plant in California is now coming online.

The plant [which uses a 1.4 MW molten carbonate fuel cell system supplied by FuelCell Energy] is fuelled by biogas from the on-site anaerobic digesters. The fuel cell converts the biogas to electricity and heat in a highly efficient electrochemical process. Although all heat and electricity produced by the facility is used at the Water Pollution Control Plant to reduce natural gas and electricity consumption, the amount of energy generated is enough to offset the annual consumption of 1,400 households.

The plant is a partnership between Anaergia Services, a division of Anaergia Inc., and the City of San José. The project is the first fuel cell project operated under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in California.  Anaergia designed, financed, built and now operates the facility under the 20 year PPA.

"San José's approach provides a great model for other municipalities interested in converting their organic waste streams into renewable energy," said Steve Watzeck, CEO of Anaergia Inc. "Effective utilization of digester gas at wastewater treatment plants under a power purchase agreement is an emerging service model that can benefit communities across North America. The San José model allows us to provide a cost effective solution by leveraging economies of scale and taking advantages of tax incentives that may not be available to municipal entities. The net result is predictable, low cost electricity that provides long term cost savings and a smaller carbon footprint."

Reference: Anaergia Inc. Press Release

Photo of water pollution control plant: City of San José


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