Strategic CHP Deployment Assistance for Wastewater Treatment Facilities

EPA established the Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership in 2001 to encourage cost-effective CHP projects in the United States. The CHP Partnership is a voluntary program that fosters cooperative relationships with the CHP industry, state and local governments, and other relevant stakeholders to promote high-efficiency CHP technology, thereby reducing pollution created by less-efficient, large-scale utilities.
Expanding the use of combined heat & power (CHP) applications at wastewater treatment plants using anaerobic digestion and flaring off the excess biogas was the focus of this project. The "Strategic Combined Heat & Power Deployment Assistance for Wastewater Treatment Facilities" project supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and ASERTTI members provided detailed analyses of actual operating data from existing CHP projects. This information will assist wastewater treatment facility officials in understanding the many benefits available for CHP applications using valuable biogas from anaerobic digestion to produce electricity and needed thermal energy.

How Does the EPA-CHP Program Save Energy and Reduce Harmful Emissions?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates approximately 12,000 U.S. wastewater treatment plants now flare some or all the biogas generated from anaerobic digestion. EPA has long recognized the benefits from using this wasted fuel source through CHP applications. The reports and studies from this project provide information showing how to derive energy from the flared biogas for cost savings and substantial environmental benefits for the communities served by the wastewater treatment plants.

Portland, OR -- Columbia Boulevard Water Treatment Plant Methane Usage

The ASERTTI project approach compiled real-world, working environment installation, operating, and maintenance data. The project demonstrated that distributed electricity generation from biogas as primary and back-up power at wastewater treatment facilities is a viable, cost-effective alternative to utility generated electricity. The project goal was to provide this information to educate and inform state officials, facility managers, utilities, municipal officials, and engineers about the energy, economic, and environmental benefits from successful CHP applications using biogas as a fuel source.

Project Scope

ASERTTI used technical assistance provided by member organizations -- New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, Washington State University and the Energy Resources Center, University of Illinois at Chicago -- to analyze four CHP applications. These four applications include a variety of CHP technologies and have resulted in significant savings and operational flexibility for the municipalities that invested in the CHP technologies.