FuelCell Energy: Project using biogas earns CARB certification

By FuelCell Energy Inc. | January 16, 2018

FuelCell Energy Inc., a global leader in delivering clean, innovative and affordable fuel cell solutions for the supply, recovery and storage of energy, recently announced that the SureSource 3000 fuel cell power plant operating on anaerobic digester gas (ADG) has received the California Air Resources Board’s Distributed Generation Certification to the 2013 Waste Gas Standard. This certification is necessary for any distributed generation equipment to be exempt from air permit requirements in the State of California. Attainment of this certification recognizes the clean air profile of SureSource solutions, and exemption from other permitting processes for individual installations reduces costs and supports customer sustainability goals. 

“The 2.8 MW SureSource 3000 and the earlier certified 1.4 MW SureSource 1500 solutions are the only power plants to achieve this CARB 2013 certification operating on renewable biogas, which illustrates our leadership position in providing affordable ultra-clean on-site renewable power,” said Chip Bottone, president and CEO of FuelCell Energy. 

Biogas derived from anaerobic digesters is a by-product produced at facilities for municipal wastewater treatment, food and beverage processing, and agricultural waste handling  This renewable fuel typically has lower energy content and more contaminants than pipeline natural gas. SureSource power plants are uniquely suited for this fuel since they are able to use the low-Btu gas without a de-rating of power plant output, and the power plants produce usable thermal energy which can support the digester operation. Power produced by these power plants can be used on site or sold to an electric utility under tariffs such as California’s BioMAT feed in tariff. A modification of the technology is available in which the power plant produces vehicle-grade renewable hydrogen in addition to power and heat, supporting the developing infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles.

In addition to its core power plant products, FuelCell Energy has developed proprietary biogas treatment systems for removal of sulfur and other contaminants from biogas, and for monitoring of gas quality. SureSource on-site biogas projects are based on this comprehensive approach to equipment and service that enables a municipality to outsource the operation and maintenance of the fuel cell power plant and gas treatment to FuelCell Energy.

SureSource power plants solve energy, environmental and business-related power generation challenges by providing ultra-clean, efficient and reliable distributed power generation. The fuel cells combine a fuel such as renewable biogas, directed biogas or clean natural gas with oxygen from the ambient air to efficiently produce ultra-clean electricity and usable high quality heat via an electrochemical process. Virtually no pollutants are emitted due to the absence of combustion. Customers benefit with operating cost reductions delivered in a manner that supports sustainability goals and enhances power reliability. With high availability and capacity factors, fuel cell power plants make meaningful contributions to sustainability goals.