"Setting new standards for environmental leadership with cost effective on-site power generation that is clean and renewable is a replicable model for California and other regions," said Arun Sharma, President, Anaergia Services. "Anaergia is pleased to be a part of Inland Empire Utilities Authority's renewable energy portfolio and contribute to their goal of energy self-sufficiency by 2020."
IEUA is prohibited from releasing the biogas generated by the wastewater treatment process directly into the atmosphere as it is a harmful greenhouse gas. Flaring the biogas emits pollutants and wastes a potential source of revenue. Using the biogas as a fuel source to generate power converts a waste disposal problem into a revenue stream. Due to the renewable nature of biogas, the power generated by the fuel cell is carbon-neutral.
"This 2.8 megawatt fuel cell power plant is the world's largest power plant operating on renewable on-site biogas. Our fuel cell technology is uniquely positioned to provide what other megawatt-class power generation products can't, which is efficiently converting biogas into continuous power right where the biogas is generated and in a manner that is virtually absent of pollutants," said Chip Bottone, President and Chief Executive Officer, FuelCell Energy, Inc. "This project is a win for everyone involved, particularly the citizens of California that benefit from privately financed carbon-neutral power generation."
Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) plants can be located where biogas is generated and directly use the biogas with only minimal cleaning of the gas. Biogas contains humidity, sulfur and CO 2. Prior to being used as a fuel source for the Direct FuelCell, the humidity and sulfur must be removed, but the DFC technology does not require the removal of the CO 2. This is a cost advantage as pipeline quality biogas, also termed 'directed biogas,' must have the CO 2 removed prior to being injected in the gas pipeline, which is an energy-intensive process and adds cost.Fuel cells use an electrochemical process to efficiently generate ultra-clean electricity and high quality heat suitable for generating steam. The absence of combustion avoids the emission of almost any pollutants, virtually eliminating nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM-10). The fuel cell power plant replaces internal-combustion engines so the clean power generation will help IEUA meet the stringent emission regulations issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the local air pollution control agency.