Biogas in the Office

By Anna Simet | December 28, 2012

Today I caught wind of a biogas project at a huge office building under development in San Diego, which when complete will be the largest carbon-neutral office building in the U.S., according to developers Hines and J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

La Jolla Commons Tower II is a 13-story, 415,000-square foot building currently under construction in the Westfield University Town Centre. It’s net-zero status will be achieved through a combination of high-performance building design, directed biogas and on-site fuel cells that will generate more electricity that the building and its tenants will require.  

I looked up a little more information on the project, and learned that the fuel cells, acquired from Bloom Energy, will generate approximately 5 million KWh of electricity annually, from directed biogas originating from area landfills and wastewater treatment plants.  

That’s roughly equivalent to generating the power required to power 1,000 San Diego homes. 

Might I add that Bloom Energy has a good video on their website describing how its fuel cells work; it’s worth checking out.

Construction of the project began in April 2012, and completion is scheduled for mid-2014, according to Hines.

It sounds like Hines, an international real estate, investment and development company, plans to take lessons learned at this project and use them to apply similar carbon-neutral technologies to other properties.

Hopefully biogas will continue play a role in their endeavors, as well as in those of others who might model their own projects off of what is done at the La Jolla Commons Tower.




1 Responses

  1. S.R. Morbley



    To Whom It May Be Of Interest; Two engineering professors from the Univ. of Wisconsin have developed a catalyst that will replace platinum for fuel cells. Since platitnum takes up 1/2 the cost of making a fuel cell this substitute will cut the cost of fuel cell technology significantly. These professors mentioned that it was possible to construct a cheaper fuel cell that will extract its hydrogen fuel source from landfill gas and wastewater treatment plants. Do you see where I'm coming from (or getting to) ? When you mentioned these two fuel cell energy sources the idea of the two professors discovery came to mind. The building construction project that you mentioned could not only employ biogas from the mentioned sources to generate electricity for the building but also transform waste water into potable water and reduce the landfills by extracting and using the landfill gas to produce energy. The University professors mentioned something to this appl;ication with the announcing the developement of their fuel cell catalyst substitute. The story was in Gizmag on the web. It's interesting reading. Your's and their stories are gradually revealing how biomass and bioenergy can and eventually will be a major energy source in the coming years.


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