Powering Strong Communities

Fayetteville, N.C., Utility Planning To Install 1.5-MW Biogas Fuel Cell

Fayetteville PWC in North Carolina plans to install a 1.5-megawatt (MW) fuel cell that would be powered by multiple biogas streams.

The project is designed to use biogas captured from the public power utility’s Cross Creak Water Reclamation facility, an adjacent landfill, and methane gases captured from local and neighboring swine farms.

The Bloom Energy fuel cell is planned to sit next to the utility’s P.O. Hoffer water treatment facility and will be one of the first of its kind to blend multiple waste gas sources to produce clean, carbon dioxide-neutral electricity, Fayetteville PWC said.

“This project is an anchor for the broader plan to remediate and establish a Cleanfields Renewable Energy Demonstration Park in the community,” Elaina Ball, CEO and general manager of Fayetteville PWC, said in a statement.

The waste-to-energy project will complement the utility’s existing renewable energy sources and help the utility meet North Carolina Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard requirements, by reducing harmful landfill and agricultural gases and providing pollution free electricity, PWC said.

“This is an innovative project that addresses both our challenging renewable energy mandates and one of the state’s largest industrial polluted sites,” Ball said. “We are excited that the project not only brings creative solutions but numerous other benefits including producing renewable energy, cutting power costs and productive use of local waste gases.”

The fuel cell installation would also border the former Texfi industrial site, which is considered one of North Carolina’s most polluted sites because of residual industrial pollution and contaminated groundwater that poses a threat to the community’s drinking water and the Cape Fear River Basin.

After seeking funds since the early 2000s, the City of Fayetteville and PWC received $220,000 in funding from the state to help launch a pilot program for removing the contaminated groundwater, which is now under way.

Fayetteville PWC is also contributing an additional $220,000 for the project. If proven successful, the pilot technology would be used in full-scale remediation efforts.

Once remediated, plans call for a 250-acre park to be developed into the state’s second Cleanfield Renewable Energy Demonstration Park, where renewable energy resources like fuel cells would be located.

Fayetteville PWC provides electricity to 80,000 customers and water services to 225,000 customers.