Philadelphia Water Department, Ameresco to Build 5.6 MW Wastewater Biogas Plant

by | Feb 23, 2012

Energy efficiency and renewable energy company Ameresco and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) will design, build and maintain a wastewater biogas-to-energy facility. The $47.5M construction project is expected to generate 5.6 MW of power and reduce PWD energy costs by over $12 million over the course of the 16-year contract.

The facility, the Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant (NEWPCP) Biogas Project, is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by about 22,000 tons per year, the companies said.

The project will generate electricity and thermal energy for use on-site, fueled mainly by biogas from the NEWPCP digesters. Currently, half of the biogas generated from the wastewater treatment process is used to heat processes at the NEWPCP, while the other half is being flared. The plant will refine the biogas byproduct of sewage treatment, and use it to fuel generators and equipment, the companies said.

The contract is a public-private partnership between Ameresco and the City of Philadelphia and qualifies for funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the companies said.

Ameresco said it will manage engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance over the course of the contract, and the city hopes the project will help hit environmental goals outlined in its 2008 Greenworks Plan.

The project qualifies to obtain a grant made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Energy Services unit is financing the project, the companies said.

Ameresco opened the first U.S. biogas plant with San Antonio Water System (SAWS) at SAWS’ Dos Rios Water Recycling Center in fall 2010. Also, SAWS became the first large wastewater utility to partner with a private sector company to sell its biogas on the U.S. market.

Ameresco said it developed another waste-to-energy plant for the Dallas Water Authority where electricity and heat are used on site.

Photo: Philadelphia Water Department

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