Greater New Haven WPCA
System Size (kW AC): 200
Expected Annual Electricity Generation (kWh): 1,576,800
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Capitalizing on Fuel Cell’s Electric Power and Heat
The New Haven Water Pollution Control Authority (WPCA) operates one of the largest processing facilities in the nation for disposing of fat, oil and grease (FOG) collected from restaurants and other food-preparation facilities. Grease trap waste and other sources of FOG is collected by private waste haulers and delivered in tanker trucks to the East Shore treatment plant, where the watery mixture is heated to remove 99% of the water, and the FOG is then used as a supplemental fuel in the WPCA’s sludge incinerator.
With a peak demand of almost 3 MW and an average monthly electric bill of $156,000, the water treatment center exerts a considerable load on the local electrical grid. In fact, the facility uses over 57,000 kWh of electricity each day. The bulk of the electrical load is used to power pumps and motors for the processing of municipal wastewater. The FOG system alone consumed over 100,000 kWh annually, primarily from an 18 kW electric heater used to warm the waste, speeding the separation of the oils from the water.
WPCA chose to install a UTC PC25C phosphoric acid fuel cell fueled by natural gas. Generating 200 kW of electrical power and 900,000 BTU per hour of heat (in the form of low-pressure steam and 140°F water), the fuel cell is able to provide not only the heat needed to process over 10,000 gallons of FOG every day, but also provides about 6% of the electric power for the entire water treatment facility, reducing their utility bill.
The combined electric and thermal energy produced by the fuel cell will reduce electricity purchases by approximately 190,000 kWh per month, saving $16,000 in utility charges. This is partially offset by the consumption of natural gas, which will add about $9,700 per month.
The fuel cell’s heat output allows the center to increase the amount of FOG treated from 4,000 gallons per day to 10,000 gallons per day, representing a 250% increase in production and creating a significant revenue opportunity for the WPCA. Excess thermal energy produced is used to provide supplemental hot water for the heating system in the adjacent maintenance building. Since the fuel cell power plant provides supplemental base-load electric power for the facility in parallel with the utility grid, the New England region will benefit from the removal of 200 kW of load from conventional fossil fuel generation.
Annual Emissions Avoided (lbs.) *
The energy produced by this system is equivalent to:
of 188 homes
emissions for 25 cars
Planting 41 acres of trees
Greater New Haven WPCA
345 East Shore Parkway
New Haven, CT 06512
Are tours of this facility available? No
System installed by:
Learn more about Fuel Cells
* Learn about how we calculate avoided emissions here