APRIL 2012

Philadelphia plans biogas project

Ameresco, Inc., a renewable energy company, and the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) have agreed to design, build and maintain an innovative wastewater biogas-to-energy facility. The Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant (NEWPCP) Biogas Project will generate electricity and thermal energy for use on-site, fueled mainly by biogas from the NEWPCP digesters. The $47.5 million construction project, designed to generate 5.6 MW of power, is expected to reduce PWD energy costs by over $12 million over the course of the 16 year contract.

A natural byproduct of sewage treatment, biogas can be refined and utilized as a fuel for generators or equipment. Currently, half of the biogas generated from the wastewater treatment process is used to heat processes at the NEWPCP, while the other half is being flared, consuming energy and increasing local emissions. The Biogas Project will now be used as a ready source of renewable energy.

The partnership between the city and Ameresco qualifies the project to obtain a grant made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, through its Energy Services business unit, has agreed to provide the financing for this project.

Ameresco will manage engineering, procurement, construction and maintenance on the project over the course of the contract. The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by nearly 22,000 tons per year.