The city of Ft. Worth, TX, has signed a contract with one of the state’s new competitive energy suppliers that will save it an average of $1.1 million a year over a 20-year period.

TXU Energy Services (Dallas, TX) will operate and maintain a pair of 5.2-MW generators at the city’s Village Creek wastewater treatment plant, which treats 166 million gal per day. The turbines will use a “free” fuel source — the methane produced at the plant — to generate about half the electricity needed to operate the facility. Eventually, when power demand at the plant is low, it could sell electricity back to the local electric utility. A key element to the deal is that Village Creek is one of the few wastewater treatment plants in the nation able to interconnect with a transmission system.

The turbines replace 40-year-old internal combustion engines that had supplied about 30% of the plant’s power needs. TXU Energy Services, which will manage the new generators, guarantees that the turbines will operate 96% of the time.

In addition, a heat recovery system will capture the high-temperature exhaust from the turbines to ensure a constant temperature (95 to 100 degrees F) for the waste treatment process. The heat recovery system will also be used to heat the plant’s administration building during the winter.

Publication date: 04/01/2002