In 2016, St. Cloud Wastewater Treatment Facility selected Jenbacher as the blended biogas and natural gas engine of choice for their new renewable energy plant. For most cities, wastewater and drinking water treatment plants are major energy hogs so when St. Cloud was looking for ways to reduce its utility bills, it made sense to look at the sprawling wastewater treatment plant on the city’s south side.
The city of St. Cloud, Minnesota, launched an innovative project to use renewable energy to power the plant and installed solar panels to generate electricity to keep it running when the sun is shining. Methane gas produced during the treatment process is also captured and used to produce more electricity. The Jenbacher JMC312 generator set produces 633 kWe of power when running on biogas from the municipal wastewater system. The blended fuel engine is also capable of running on a blend of sewage gas and natural gas in cases when biogas production fluctuates. The engine can also run completely on natural gas for isolated load applications if required.
“In all likelihood, we’ll be running the treatment facility using 80% renewable energy by 2018,” explained Patrick Shea, St. Cloud’s public services director. “I don’t know another municipality of this size in the state that’s at that level.”