World's largest Carbon Neutral Fuel Cell Power Plant
in the design, manufacture and service of ultra-clean, efficient and reliable fuel cell power plants, today announced the dedication and operation of a 2.8 megawatt DFC3000® stationary fuel cell power plant installation at a municipal water treatment facility in California that utilizes renewable biogas as a fuel source. FuelCell Energy, Inc. previously announced the sale of the power plant to Anaergia, Inc., a project developer and investor. Anaergia is selling the electricity and heat to Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) under a twenty year power purchase agreement. The power plant is an integral and unique on-site fuel cell application to convert biogas, a harmful greenhouse gas, into electricity and usable high quality heat in a carbon-neutral fashion that emits virtually no pollutants.
A dedication event for the fuel cell power plant was held on October 12 at the IEUA facility. IEUA is one of the largest wastewater treatment operators in California and is a leader in adopting sustainability initiatives as it transitions to grid-independence by the year 2020.
“This stationary fuel cell project that uses a renewable fuel source to generate clean power is helping the State of California reach our aggressive renewable portfolio standards,” said Michael Peevey, President, California Public Utilities Commission. “This project illustrates how public/private partnerships are a great model for providing public benefits with private capital.”
“We have adopted the goal of becoming energy self-sufficient by the year 2020 in a manner that meets our aggressive sustainability goals and with competitive economics,” said Thomas Love, General Manager, Inland Empire Utilities Agency. “This fuel cell project, combined with our existing solar and wind installations, is helping us achieve these goals.”
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Reliable on-site power generation from fuel cells combined with the credit profile of
municipalities attracts private capital to fuel cell projects. Anaergia partially funded the purchase of the fuel cell power plant located at IEUA through the issuance of California Municipal Finance Authority Revenue Bonds.
“Setting new standards for environmental leadership with cost effective on-site power generation that is clean and renewable is a replicable model for California and other regions,” said Arun Sharma, President, Anaergia Services. “Anaergia is pleased to be a part of Inland Empire Utilities Authority's renewable energy portfolio and contribute to their goal of energy selfsufficiency by 2020."
IEUA is prohibited from releasing the biogas generated by the wastewater treatment process directly into the atmosphere as it is a harmful greenhouse gas. Flaring the biogas emits pollutants and wastes a potential source of revenue. Using the biogas as a fuel source to generate power converts a waste disposal problem into a revenue stream. Due to the renewable nature of biogas, the power generated by the fuel cell is carbon-neutral.
“This 2.8 megawatt fuel cell power plant is the world’s largest power plant operating on
renewable on-site biogas. Our fuel cell technology is uniquely positioned to provide what other megawatt-class power generation products can’t, which is efficiently converting biogas into continuous power right where the biogas is generated and in a manner that is virtually absent of pollutants,” said Chip Bottone, President and Chief Executive Officer, FuelCell Energy, Inc. “This project is a win for everyone involved, particularly the citizens of California that benefit from privately financed carbon-neutral power generation.”
Direct FuelCell® (DFC®) plants can be located where biogas is generated and directly use the biogas with only minimal cleaning of the gas. Biogas contains humidity, sulfur and CO2. Prior to being used as a fuel source for the Direct FuelCell, the humidity and sulfur must be removed, but the DFC technology does not require the removal of the CO2. This is a cost advantage as pipeline quality biogas, also termed ‘directed biogas,’ must have the CO2 removed prior to being injected in the gas pipeline, which is an energy-intensive process and adds cost.
Fuel cells use an electrochemical process to efficiently generate ultra-clean electricity and high quality heat suitable for generating steam. The absence of combustion avoids the emission of almost any pollutants, virtually eliminating nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SOx) and particulate matter (PM-10). The fuel cell power plant replaces internal-combustion engines so the clean power generation will help IEUA meet the stringent emission regulations issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the local air pollution control agency.
Fuel cells are highly efficient and can achieve efficiencies up to 90 percent when byproduct heat is utilized. The byproduct heat from this power plant will be used to help create the renewable biogas by heating the anaerobic digesters that produce the biogas. High efficiency decreases energy costs and provides more electrical output from the same amount of biogas than less efficient alternatives.
Itronics successfully tests manganese recovery process
Itronics - a Nevada-based emerging cleantech materials growth company that manufacturers fertilisers and produces silver - has successfully tested two proprietary processes that recover manganese, with one process recovering manganese, potassium and zinc from paste produced by processing non-rechargeable alkaline batteries. The second recovers manganese via the company’s Rock Kleen Technology.
Manganese, one of the four most important industrial metals and widely used by the steel industry, has been designated by the US Federal Government as a "critical mineral." It is a major component of non-rechargeable alkaline batteries, one of the largest battery categories sold globally.
The use of manganese in EV batteries is increasing as EV battery technology is shifting to use of more nickel and manganese in battery formulations. But according to the US Department of Interior, there is no mine production of manganese in the United States. As such, Itronics is using its Rock Kleen Technology to test metal recoverability from mine tailings obtained from a former silver mine in western Nevada that has a high manganese content.
In a statement, Itronics says that its Rock Kleen process recovers silver, manganese, zinc, copper, lead and nickel. The company says that it has calculated – based on laboratory test results – that if a Rock Kleen tailings process is put into commercial production, the former mine site would become the only primary manganese producer in the United States.
Itronics adds that it has also tested non-rechargeable alkaline battery paste recovered by a large domestic battery recycling company to determine if it could use one of its hydrometallurgical processes to solubilize the manganese, potassium, and zinc contained in the paste. This testing was successful, and Itronics was able to produce material useable in two of its fertilisers, it says.
"We believe that the chemistry of the two recovery processes would lend itself to electrochemical recovery of the manganese, zinc, and other metals. At this time electrochemical recovery has been tested for zinc and copper,” says Dr John Whitney, Itronics president.
“Itronics has been reviewing procedures for electrochemical recovery of manganese and plans to move this technology forward when it is appropriate to do so and has acquired electro-winning equipment needed to do that.
"Because of the two described proprietary technologies, Itronics is positioned to become a domestic manganese producer on a large scale to satisfy domestic demand. The actual manganese products have not yet been defined, except for use in the Company's GOLD'n GRO Multi-Nutrient Fertilisers. However, the Company believes that it will be able to produce chemical manganese products as well as electrochemical products," he adds.
Itronics’ research and development plant is located in Reno, about 40 miles west of the Tesla giga-factory. Its planned cleantech materials campus, which will be located approximately 40 miles south of the Tesla factory, would be the location where the manganese products would be produced.
Panasonic is operating one of the world's largest EV battery factories at the Tesla location. However, Tesla and other companies have announced that EV battery technology is shifting to use of nickel-manganese batteries. Itronics is positioned and located to become a Nevada-0based supplier of manganese products for battery manufacturing as its manganese recovery technologies are advanced, the company states.
A long-term objective for Itronics is to become a leading producer of high purity metals, including the U.S. critical metals manganese and tin, using the Company's breakthrough hydrometallurgy, pyrometallurgy, and electrochemical technologies. ‘Additionally, Itronics is strategically positioned with its portfolio of "Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies" to help solve the recently declared emergency need for domestic production of Critical Minerals from materials located at mine sites,’ the statement continues.
The Company's growth forecast centers upon its 10-year business plan designed to integrate its Zero Waste Energy Saving Technologies and to grow annual sales from $2 million in 2019, to $113 million in 2025.