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Text | Government/Municipal Melton Recycled Water Treatment Plant | 002
“Capstone’s clean-burning, low- emission microturbine allows us to turn waste into a resource in the most innovative way.”
— Rob Franklin, General Manager, Sustainability, Western Water
several plants. Reducing greenhouse-gas emissions is
a focal point for Western Water as the company strives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2017.
At the plant, of cials set high goals – to treat
100 percent of biosolids, use 100 percent of resulting methane biogas as a clean-and-green energy source, and produce 100 percent recycled water. The Capstone CR200 CHP system has helped meet these targets.
In July 2010, Capstone distributor Aquatec Maxcon commissioned the biogas-fueled Capstone CR200 Microturbine at the wastewater treatment facility to begin producing electricity onsite. By November, the complete CHP system was fully operating.
“When we conducted a full life-cycle analysis,
we found that the high availability and low projected maintenance costs of the Capstone microturbine, together with the reliable power produced, made it the best option for us,” said Rob Franklin, Western Water’s General Manager, Sustainability. “We took energy ef ciency into account, along with the availability of the equipment, which is well over
99 percent when compared to other cogeneration technologies in the marketplace.”
During the project’s planning phase, engineers estimated a Capstone CR200 would reduce this one plant’s greenhouse gas emissions 1,800 tons each year, or about 7.5 percent of Western Water’s total emissions among all its treatment plants.
The plant is a 10 million litre/day (2.6 million gallon/day) activated sludge treatment plant with tertiary lagoon treatment. At the facility, an anaerobic digester breaks down the biosolid sludge, which creates biogas with a methane content of about 70 percent. Before the 200kW microturbine was installed, the plant used some of the gas to heat a boiler for the digester, and then ared any excess gas. Unfortunately, ared methane gas has a greenhouse-gas impact on the atmosphere 21 times greater than carbon dioxide.
The Capstone CR200 burns biogas from the anaerobic digester to produce 1,700MWh of electricity each year. The electricity offsets the plant’s overall power consumption by an estimated 60 percent.
The Capstone microturbine is designed to tolerate high levels of hydrogen sul de and siloxanes in the biogas when compared to traditional reciprocating engine technology. The biogas produced at the wastewater facility has up to 3,500 parts-per-million (ppm) of hydrogen sul de.
Waste heat from the CR200’s external waste-
heat exchanger maintains the required 35°C (95°F) temperature in the digester. The Capstone Heat Recovery Module will provide approximately 276kW
of heat from the microturbine’s exhaust and deliver 2.3 million kWh of thermal energy. The ef ciency of thermal generation to supply hot water to heat the plant’s digesters results in the production of even more biogas that can be converted to energy generation.
The biogas-fueled CHP system features an overall energy ef ciency level as high as 90 percent, compared to about 25 – 35 percent if the biogas is burned in a stand-alone boiler.
Because of the projected reduction in energy costs and environmental impact from the installation of the microturbine, the plant secured grants for the project totaling AUD$750,000 from Sustainability Victoria and the Department of Sustainability.
The cogeneration plant, of cially opened by
Energy and Resources Minister Peter Batchelor at the facility’s launch, will serve as a model for similar projects at wastewater treatment facilities throughout Australia.
The emissions reduction is equivalent to taking
450 cars off the road annually. Microturbine technology produces a waste gas with less than 9 ppm NOx and
40 ppm carbon emissions, which is signi cantly cleaner than the surrounding urban air environment.
Plant managers from Western Water predict that cost savings from the onsite generation of electrical and thermal power, plus “green” incentives offered by the government, will justify the installation of
a second CR200 system, and ultimately a third as demand increases.
“We aim to become a zero-waste recycling plant
by 2017,” Franklin said. “Capstone’s clean-burning, low-emission microturbine allows us to turn waste into
a resource in the most innovative way. The reliable and low maintenance turbine has surpassed our expectations. This great success has motivated us to continue looking for other opportunities to further reduce greenhouse- gas emissions within other recycled water treatment plants.”
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