The City of San Jose, CA recently announced a partnership with Anaergia Services to construct a renewable energy facility at its wastewater treatment plant. The plant will extract biogas from sludge and convert it to heat and electricity.
The San Jose renewable energy plant will generate 1.4MW of electricity, enough to power approximately 1,400 homes for a year. The waste-to-energy technology works by capturing biogas from anaerobic digesters using fuel cells, similarly to the chemical reaction that occurs in batteries.
Less than five percent of all wastewater treatment plants in America utilize waste-to-energy technology, which puts San Jose on the cutting edge of sustainable energy production. It’s all part of San Jose’s “Green Vision” initiative aimed at making it one of the greenest cities in America by 2022. The plan launched in 2007.
San Jose’s Green Vision program seems to be working well so far. Its 2011 annual report stated that 71 percent of city trash was diverted away from landfills in 2011. This is up from 63 percent just four years earlier. The goal is to divert 100 percent of trash from landfills by 2022.
The city set 10 major goals for its Green Vision plan, including: reusing 100 percent of wastewater, get 100 percent of energy needs through renewable energy sources, and convert 100 percent of public fleet vehicles to alternative fuels. It’s an ambitious plan, to say the least, but the city should be commended for taking the challenge head-on and succeeding thus far.
Anaergia is a Canadian renewable energy company involved in more than 1,600 projects worldwide. It designed, built and will operate the San Jose fuel cell plant under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which is the first such deal ever in California. The PPA is a 20-year plan.