FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The city of Fort Wayne has started converting methane gas created from sewage into usable energy to power its wastewater treatment plant, cutting electric bills by $42,000.
Doug Fasick, a senior program manager for engineering with Fort Wayne utilities, said the plant started using methane gas on Oct. 22. The water pollution control plant then saw electric costs drop from about $110,000 to $68,000, The Journal Gazette reported. A timeline for the savings wasn’t provided, and city officials didn’t immediately respond to an email sent Friday afternoon.
Methane supplements about 32 percent of the plant’s energy needs. The city’s goal is to use gas to power most if not all plant operations. Since the city started using methane gas, it has reduced its monthly energy consumption from about 1.6 million kilowatt-hours to just over 1 million kilowatt-hours, Fasick said.
“At our plant, we have anaerobic digestion, which produces methane gas,” Fasick said. “We’re capturing that methane gas and running it through two generators that are 400 kilowatts each. They’re essentially supplementing our power needs for the water pollution control plant.”
Another bonus is that the minimizing the plant’s electrical costs helps keeping sewage rates stable for consumers, Fasick said.
The city started trying to reduce the amount of methane gas it released in 2013, as part of a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency. The city realized during that process that it could use the gas to power certain plant operations. City officials now hope to bring in additional waste streams that can help create more methane gas.