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Honeywell's New Biogas Project is Innovative

By Anna Simet | September 20, 2012

This week, Honeywell unveiled a $35 million renewable energy project in Wilmington, Del. I haven't come across anything exactly like it.

For those of you who aren’t yet aware of it, the facility will convert two different sources of biogas into heat and electricity to power the city’s wastewater treatment plant. What will be named the Renewable Energy Biosolids Facility will serve as the project centerpiece, a facility that will capture methane generated at the Hay Road Wastewater Treatment Plant. Right now the methane is flared off and wasted, but at the new facility it will be mixed with an additional methane stream drawn from the nearby Cherry Island Landfill. The blend of the two biogas streams will be purified and sent through reciprocating engines to generate up to 4 MW, or roughly 90 percent of the wastewater treatment plant’s power.

Then, making use of what’s often wasted, the biosolids that come out of the digesters will be dehydrated by heat recovered from those reciprocating engines. Honeywell says this thermal drying process should reduce the amount of sludge the city needs to truck away by approximately 75 percent — from 140 to 35 tons per day. One doesn’t have to do the math to know that’s going to be a significant savings on disposal costs.

And perhaps most importantly, the city of Wilmington—which is the largest in the state at just under 71,000 residents—won’t have to increase budgets or taxes, as the reduction in utility and operating costs have been guaranteed through performance contracts with Honeywell.

Construction of the Renewable Energy Biosolids Facility is expected to begin this spring, completed during the summer of 2014. I should mention that Honeywell is collaborating with engineering firm CH2M HILL to design the project, and the company will also provide operations and maintenance support for the facility through an annual service agreement.

I am really looking forward to seeing this project come to fruition—I have no doubt we will be checking in with Honeywell for project updates in the future. And I have to add, even though I read and write about new projects every day, I am continually amazed by what we can do with our waste.

 

5 Responses

  1. shivasharana RP

    2012-09-21

    1

    Dear Sir, I read your article, I am Mech engg, Working for a steel industry from past 2 years. During my college, I was times thinking about the Biogas plant always, so as to reduce the expenses for middle class people, who are not able to bear the Household GAS used for cooking. Even this includes me. Thought i could construct a biogas plant, providing pipelines to houses. Make some money, have a cattle farm. Sell the milk utilize the cow dung to produce biogas. If excess is available thing of power plant and so goes on. There is also lots and lots of waste in and surrounding us. But due to lack of my Experience and of course lack of money, I am not able to do anything. I would like to work for any biogas and biomass generation unit to learn so that at one stage of my life I would deal with the expenses and waste, to make a green environment exist again. Huge plans in mind, but its just like constructing a sand monument at the sea shore. If waves comes, everything gets washed away. If given a opportunity to learn and serve. Would be my best part of Technical Career. Wish to have response from your side. Shiva

  2. pannir

    2012-09-22

    2

    very good viable fuel from biomass wastes

  3. Omar Sharif Ch

    2012-10-01

    3

    It be great, if someone publishes designs & specs for small sized biogas plants for installation in urban cities homes. The raw material to be kitchen wastes, grass, and fallen leaves. On internet I can see number of designs based on animal waste, such digestors are good for rural areas. But in urban homes animal waste is not available. Therefore, I would like to look at some options based on kitchen wastes. Regards. Omar

  4. Vamsi Seeta

    2012-10-12

    4

    Anna: I am surprised that you have not come across similar projects in your career so far. But, from where I am, in California, combining digester gas with landfill gas for combined heat and power applications is quite common! I am glad you are fascinated by the project and decided to report on it. I am sure this will turn out to be a great project for all the stakeholders. I wish the best. Cheers!

  5. Anna Simet

    2012-10-12

    5

    Thanks for your comment, Vamsi. I didn't just mean that aspect, but at a wastewater treatment plant. I've reported on biogas projects at WWTPs, but none that use landfill gas as well. If you know of some other examples, I'd love to hear about them.

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