Cogeneration allows Washington plant to make fuel

From Green Right Now Reports

What's the best way to cut the cost of treating wastewater? How about using the treatment byproducts as fuel?

Budd Inlet Treatment Plant. Image:

Budd Inlet Treatment Plant. Image:

That was the creative solution implemented at the Budd Inlet Treatment Plant by the LOTT (Lacy, Olympia, Tumwater and Thurston County) Alliance in Washington State late last year. The renewable energy system, combined with an aeration blower retrofit currently underway, is expected to save LOTT more than $228,000 a year in utility costs.

The cogeneration system, expected to save nearly $180,000 a year in utility costs, enables the cogeneration plant to provide all of the heating required at the site as a “district heating” plant, eliminating the need to burn off excess digester gas and greatly reducing the emissions of the site. The blower retrofit, scheduled for completion in August, 2010, is expected to save more than $48,000 in utility costs for the LOTT Alliance.

LOTT’s cogeneration system converts methane gas to heat and energy for use in LOTT’s Regional Services Center, which will be completed in July, and for future use in the new Hands On Children’s Museum, which will be located next to the plant. The Regional Services Center houses the Water Education and Technology (WET) Center, an educational center for ages 10 and older, a water quality laboratory, and offices.

Puget Sound Energy provided a $1.7 million Energy Conservation Grant to install the cogeneration system.

As an innovative, renewable energy technology, the cogeneration system supports plans to earn LEED certification for the LOTT Regional Services Center and the new Hands On Children’s Museum.

“As a public wastewater treatment facility, responsible use of community resources represents the core of our work,” said Doug Mah, president of the LOTT Alliance board of directors and mayor of the City of Olympia. “We’re pleased that we can further our commitment to environmental stewardship with these improvements."

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