Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) marked the completion of the Cogeneration Project at the Jacob Hands Wastewater Treatment Facility (JHWWTF) with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday, March 1st. The City expects to save about $220,000 annually on power bills, with the utilization of two co-generators, which convert methane – produced from the sewage treatment process – and natural gas, into efficient energy. “It’s a forward-looking project that demonstrates great innovation by LCU for the residents of Las Cruces,” Mayor, Ken Miyagishima said.
Built in the 1980’s, the anaerobic digesters at JHWWTF take the wastewater sludge and “cook” it to destroy harmful pathogens and bacteria, creating nutrient rich solids for use as a rich Class A-plus biosolid compost. Methane gas is one of the by-products created in the digestion process; previously disposed of by flaring it off.
The onsite cogeneration facility was designed by Molzen
Corbin. The facility includes gas purification; two 334
kilowatt engine generators, with provisions for a third;
heat recovery equipment; and electrical components.
The digester-produced methane is sent through the gas
purification process to remove moisture, harmful gases,
and particulates that can damage the generators. Then, the
cleaned methane is sent to the engine generators, which
create electrical power and usable heat.
Some of the benefits of the cogeneration system include:
- REDUCED WASTE: The project utilizes 100 percent of the methane produced.
- REDUCE EL PASO ELECTRIC DEPENDENCY: Cogeneration can reduce the plant’s electrical import by as much as 30 percent per generator.
- SUSTAINABILITY: This project will provide 100 percent of the digesters’ heating needs.
- COST EFFICIENCY:
Each of the cogeneration
engines can provide as
much as 2,400,000
kilowatt hours a year.
You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS –
WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID
WASTE services to approximately
100,000 Las Cruces residents and