Chilean water utility Aguas Andinas will install GE’s Jenbacher biogas engines as part of a wastewater treatment plant expansion and renewable energy project along the Mapocho River, near the capital city of Santiago. The project is part of Chile’s efforts to clean up the city’s municipal water supply and protect the region from the environmental impacts of continued population growth.
The Mapocho expansion project is being built adjacent to the utility's existing “El Trebal” treatment facility and will enable Aguas Andinas to treat 100 percent of the Santiago region’s wastewater, up from the current 86 percent. The expansion, including a modernization of the El Trebal facility, is expected to be finished between late 2011 and the first quarter of 2012.
Three of GE’s 2.7-megawatt J620 biogas engines will be installed to enable the plant to also begin producing up to 60 percent of its own power with renewable electricity. The engines will be fueled by methane-rich biogas created by the digestion of sewage sludge collected at the treatment plant. By using the methane-rich biogas as fuel in GE’s Jenbacher gas engines, less of the greenhouse gas is able to escape into the atmosphere.
“This project is an opportunity to improve the quality of the water and air of Santiago region of Chile by using the relevant technology of GE’s proven Jenbacher biogas engines. Also using active carbon treatment for biogas and selective catalyst reduction for exhaust gas, this “waste-to-energy project” will meet the strict environmental regulation recently promoted by Chilean authorities,” said Didier Lartigue, general manager of Clarke Energy France, GE’s authorized distributor for gas engines in France, the initiator of this project.
Aguas Andinas manages water treatment in the Santiago metropolitan. Its parent company, Agbar, is a division of Suez Environnement, a French international water and waste management services company. The new project is being led by a consortium of Agbar (51 percent) and Degremont (49 percent). Clarke Energy is supplying the biogas engines to Aguas Andinas and sold a turnkey installation to Degremont—manufacturer of the wasterwater plant extension.
“Industrial facilities in many South American countries still primarily rely on traditional fossil fuels for electricity, but GE’s fuel-flexible Jenbacher technology—which operates on natural gas or a variety of alternative gases—is offering customers a solution to recycle more of their own waste gases to reduce their energy costs while improving the environment and local energy reliability,” said Prady Iyyanki, CEO—gas engines for GE Power & Water.
“Aguas Andinas’ Mapocho wastewater treatment/onsite biogas power project illustrates how customers around the world can utilize GE’s ecomagination-approved Jenbacher biogas engines to achieve important environmental and economic benefits from the production of energy from high-methane waste streams,” Iyyanki noted.
Numerous GE products are approved under ecomagination, GE’s corporate-wide initiative to aggressively bring to segment new technologies that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges. In addition to biogas applications, GE's Jenbacher cogeneration, associated petroleum gas, landfill gas and coal mine methane engines as well as the newly presented J920 9.5-megawatt engine have received ecomagination approval, underscoring the environmental and economic benefits offered from the utilization of generating energy from high-methane content waste streams.
This announcement continues a series of recent actions in GE’s energy business over the past couple of months aimed at growing its overall presence in the global energy space. On Oct. 1, GE announced its purchase of Calnetix Power Solutions, which expands GE’s capabilities to recover waste heat from industrial processes for electricity generation. On October 19, GE announced the development of its new, larger, power-generation gas engine—the J920 engine. With electrical efficiency of 48.7 percent and an output of 9.5 megawatts, the new engine is the most efficient in its class and it extends GE’s technical excellence in power generation gas engines