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Transforming Methane Gas into Heat and Electric at WPCF


The Township of Livingston announced plans to conduct a Feasibility Study into the possibility of using excess methane gas to generate power at the Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF). The New Jersey Clean Energy Program provides incentives to perform Feasibility Studies to promote sustainable biopower projects. Under the 2012 NJ Clean Energy Program, the Township would receive $25,000 for a Feasibility Study that costs $50,000 or more. The rest of the funding for the project would come from the Township capital accounts.

The Feasibily Study, conducted by Hatch Mott MacDonald of Milburn, NJ, will determine if the construction of a combined heat and power (CHP) microturbine unit or engine/generator set would be beneficial to the Township. The study will refine the digester calculations including the anticipated amount and quality of methane gas, estimation of electic power generation, size of CHP unit, and compare initial costs to the expected payback period.

“Evaluations conducted as part of the Wastewater Master Plan have determined that the existing facilities can be modified to improve methane gas production and to utilize the gas in the production of electricity and heat,” explained Joe Greco, Superintendant of Water Pollution Control Facility. “The digester waste gas burner operates 24 hours per day. Since this potential source of energy is currently flared or burned to the atmosphere, it would be advantageous to use the methane gas source to produce electric power and heat. This would reduce the amount of emissions to the atmosphere by reducing or eliminating the flaring of methane gas, and reduce the operating costs of the WPCF. Based on initial calculations, the CPH unit would be able to produce 170 KW of electrical power worth $165,000 per year (at net of $.11 per kw-hr), and also produce sufficient heat to run the digesters.”

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Additional rebate incentives are offered under the 2012 NJ Clean Energy Program for the construction of a combined heat and power projects. Based on the estimated size of Livingston’s CHP project of 170KW, the incentive would be $510,000 (not to exceed 40% of the project construction cost. For more information on the NJ Clean Energy Program go to

WPCF is responsible for the treatment of almost all sewage generated by the Township. It is a tertiary treatment plant which generates high quality effluent which helps to safeguard the environment.  Treated sewage commonly has over 98 percent of its suspended solids and over 99 percent of its 5 Day BOD removed before it is discharged into the Passaic River.  This discharge is of a much higher quality than the river water. For information on Livingston WPCF, call 973-535-7944 or email Alternatively, go to Click on Water Pollution Control to access the webpage. The Facility is located at 81 Naylon Ave, Livingston, NJ.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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