Europe’s First Fuel Cell Wastewater Treatment Power Plant to Operate on Sewage Gas Commissioned
FuelCell Energy's Technology Generating Electricity for Wastewater Plant and Grid Distribution; Heat Byproduct Used in Sewage Treatment and to Warm Buildings
FuelCell Energy, Inc., a leading manufacturer of efficient, ultra-clean power generation plants for commercial and industrial customers, announced that its European partner MTU CFC Solutions GmbH, a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler, and RWE Fuel Cells have commissioned a power plant incorporating FuelCell Energy's technology to run a municipal wastewater treatment facility in northeastern Germany.
Plans for the 250-kilowatt facility, first disclosed last year, called for installation of MTU's HotModule power plant. This system combines FCE's efficient and low-emission Direct Fuel Cell (DFC) stacks with MTU's balance of plant design that it manufactures for the European market. Situated at the Municipal Wastewater Treatment Works in Ahlen, Germany, it is the first fuel cell in Europe to operate on anaerobic digester gas.
Using sewage gas produced by the Ahlen facility itself as fuel, the power plant generates electricity to run the wastewater treatment process; any excess power is fed to the grid. The power plant also generates 180 kilowatts of heat byproduct. Ahlen harnesses this energy to operate its digestion tower (where sewage sludge is turned into the gas fuel source), while any remaining thermal energy is used to heat its office and plant buildings there.
The newly operational wastewater treatment plant, one of 10 worldwide in which FuelCell Energy products are involved, replaced a combustion engine-driven cogeneration unit.
Industrial and municipal wastewater treatment facilities with anaerobic gas digesters represent an important application of FuelCell Energy's DFC power plants. Methane generated by anaerobic gas digestion is a renewable fuel eligible for government incentive funding for installations around the world. Because fuel in a DFC unit is not burned, it dramatically reduces harmful emissions of gas and particulates while generating firm (24/7) power on site where it is needed.