General Motors (GM) has installed an 8.15 MW solar array on the rooftop of one of its Adam Opel AG plants in Rüsselsheim, Germany.

The array is one of the largest installations in Europe, over an area equivalent to 32 soccer fields, and will produce up to 7.3 GWH of energy annually, reports Triple Pundit. The array will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions by about 3000 tonnes each year.

Together with GM’s other solar arrays in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and Zaragoza, Spain, this array will allow the company to produce 19.1 GWh of electricity a year, the equivalent to the avoidance of 7500 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

While solar electricity from Rüsselsheim is used in vehicle production, excess power is fed into the public grid of German energy company Stadtwerke Mainz.

Originally aiming to reach 60 MW by 2015, GM’s new goal is to increase its renewable power target to 125 MW by 2020. Mike Robinson, GM vice president, Sustainability and Global Regulatory Affairs. ‘It is because of this type of progress that we are committed to increasing renewable energy use to 125 MW by 2020.’

Obama Orders Cogeneration Increase

A tremendous boost has been delivered to the cogeneration industry with the news that President Barack Obama has issued an executive order to increase the number of cogeneration plants in the US by 50% by 2020.

The order is designed to improve US industrial energy efficiency, while reducing the country’s carbon emissions by 150 million tonnes per year. The order is a fresh attempt by Obama to promote clean energy and get around political resistance to ‘green’ energy legislation on Capitol Hill.

The measure aims to accelerate investments to help manufacturers expand their use of CHP facilities.

‘The Federal Government has limited but important authorities to overcome… barriers, and our efforts to support investment in industrial energy efficiency and CHP should involve coordinated engagement with a broad set of stakeholders,’ the order says.

The US has an installed capacity of 82 GW of CHP, of which 87% is in manufacturing plants, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The order directs federal agencies to help states to use CHP to achieve national ambient air quality standards, and provide incentives through their regulations to help boost the technology.

Infinia to solar power US army depot

Infinia Corporation has announced the company’s partnership with CDM Smith to provide a 1.5 MW installation of Infinia’s concentrating solar product – the PowerDish – at the Tooele Army Depot (TEAD), Tooele, Utah in the US.

Backed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Tooele installation is Infinia’s largest commercial, utility-scale PowerDish deployment.

The PowerDish, based on Infinia’s proven free-piston Stirling generator platform of energy production products, is an innovative grid inter-connected solar power generating product that converts the sun’s heat into electricity, without the use of water.

Groundbreaking for the Tooele Army Depot project was held on 17 August 2012. Once complete, the solar array will be spread among 7 ha and reduce energy consumption from the local utility, providing TEAD with a significant portion of its electricity needs.

Cogeneration At Australian Wastewater Plant

The South Australian Government has approved a $25.8m project for SA Water to optimize energy utilization on site at the Bolivar Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP), the largest such plant in the Adelaide region.

This project will provide a major upgrade to the WWTP power supply though the installation of on-site power generation fuelled with digester gas produced during the treatment plant process.

In May 2012, Clarke Energy Australia was awarded the contract to design and construct a fully operational turnkey gas-to-power cogeneration plant using GE Jenbacher gas engines and to fully integrate the electricity generated into the existing electrical infrastructure.

Clarke Energy’s design provides three GE Jenbacher 2.4 MWe dual-fuel gas engines installed inside the existing power house. The gas engines will operate either solely on digester gas or a blended mix with natural gas during times of low digester gas production.

The gas engines will also produce hot water to supply heat to the plant digesters. The project is due to be commissioned in July 2013. Once completed, the plant will generate up to 85% of the plant’s electricity demand.

Michigan Brewery Picks Solar CHP

A brewery in Michigan, US, is using a next generation solar panel system to power its manufacturing process.

Detroit-based Power Panel, Inc. has commissioned its largest next-generation solar panel system to date on Michigan’s first solar brewery. Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti, Michigan,

The solar power facility will provide both electricity and heat energy used in the beer making process. The 140 solar panels installed for the project will produce a combined 16.1 kW of electricity, and 89.6 kW of equivalent thermal energy.

Power Panel systems are designed to circulate water though the panel in a non-pressurized, drain-back system.

This process collects thermal energy from the panel while actively cooling the photovoltaic (PV) cells – increasing electrical output. As a result, Power Panel systems are able to collect four times the amount of energy produced by traditional PV panels. Thermal energy is stored in Power Panel’s patented modular thermal storage tank.

Corner Brewery owner Matt Greff said that the brewery is making changes that are favourable for both the environment and the company’s revenues.

Molycorp Powers Up Its Mountain Pass CHP Facility

California-based rare earth and rare-metals company Molycorp says its on-site CHP plant has started feeding low-cost, power and steam to its Mountain Pass facilities.

Molycorp’s CHP plant is fuelled by natural gas from a recently completed supply line that connects the facility to a interstate natural gas pipeline operated by Kern River Gas Transmission Company.

’We have launched operations of Project Phoenix’s heavy rare earth concentrate facilities on schedule, our combined heat and power plant is set to begin powering our new facilities this week, and we remain on track to achieve full Phase 1 production rates at Mountain Pass in the fourth quarter of this year,’ said Mark A. Smith, Molycorp’s CEO and president.

IDEA Announces Community Energy Initiative

The International District Energy Association (IDEA) has announced the release of its newest publication, Community Energy: Planning, Development and Delivery, intended to help community organizations in the US to implement district energy systems in their jurisdictions.

The document is aimed at mayors, planners, community leaders, real estate developers and economic development officials who are interested in planning more sustainable urban energy infrastructure.

The new guidebook will provide an overview of the local energy project development process in a form accessible to lay readers, to assist them in making informed decisions on the analysis, planning, development and delivery of district energy systems.

IDEA, a 103-year old non-profit industry trade association based outside of Boston, Massachusetts, engaged UK-based district energy specialist Michael King, author of the UK guidebook by the same name, to revise Community Energy: Planning, Development and Delivery for the US market to reflect relevant national energy and environmental policies and incorporate current US market conditions and policy drivers on a federal, state and local level.

IDEA President & CEO Rob Thornton said the organization expects the guide to respond to ‘a rapidly growing level of interest in smarter energy solutions’ across the US. ‘Existing tools in the market are generally focused on the engineers responsible for design of systems,’ he said.


GTI Wins $3.5m Contracts In California

Illinois-based energy technology developer Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has been awarded two contracts worth $3.5m to develop CHP and waste recovery technologies at industrial facilities in California.

GTI has received a grant of $1.8m in PIER (Public Interest Energy Research) natural gas funding from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to develop and demonstrate a fuel-flexible hybrid-generation CHP system that can use natural gas and biogas from anaerobic digesters at wastewater treatment plants and landfills.

The system will be designed to produce reliable and efficient thermal and electric energy for on-site use, while also enabling cost-effective compliance with California Air Resources Board (CARB) 2007 emission standards for distributed generation. The agency’s 2005 Energy Action Plan makes renewable power sources and distributed generation such as CHP systems a top CEC priority.

Many wastewater treatment plants and landfills that operate on biogas face significant capital costs to comply with the emission level requirements. GTI and its partners will develop a system that integrates a partial oxidation gas turbine with a reciprocating internal combustion engine for better overall system performance, reduced cost per kWe, and emissions that meet the CARB 2007 emission standards.

WELTEC Starts Construction On Poland’s First Biogas Pplant

Weltec Power is building a 2.4 MW biogas plant in Pomerania, Poland, the country’s first such facility. Plant operator NEWD will ferment potato waste from a chip manufacturer, as well as maize and liquid manure.

Experts believe Poland has the third-largest stock of such resources in Europe, with an agricultural area of about 18.5 million ha. Decentralized power and heat generation is subsidized in Poland, which is aiming to increase the share of renewable energies in its generation mix from 5% up to 15% by 2020.

Praise For San Francisco Hospital’s CHP System

A study conducted nine months after the John Muir Medical Center’s CHP system went on-line shows the application to be operating at 97% uptime.

From the months of September 2010 to May 2011, the San Francisco-based hospital’s four CHP units operated for 25,075 out of 25,788 hours. During that time, the system generated well over 5.6 GWh for the hospital.

Elite Energy Systems (EES), who supplied the unit to the hospital, says that the performance is particularly notable due to the fact that the system did not experience early hour problems typical of such installations.

Germany’s Bitburg Brewery Reaches Cogeneration Milestone

The Bitburg Braurei in Germany has seen its CHP plant reach a landmark 50,000 hours of successful operation.

The brewery has been using GE’s Jenabcher J312 engine to convert biogas into power and heat to meet its process requirements and to achieve a 10% prime energy saving.

Since 2005, the CHP facility has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by an equivalent of 10,000 tonnes and demonstrated higher efficiency and economy than the site’s previous steam boiler technology.

‘Working with Bitburger allowed us to develop a customized technology solution that met their specific needs,’ said Rafael Santana, president and CEO of Gas Engines for GE Energy. ‘Our gas engine technology provides a high degree of fuel flexibility with the capability to operate on a wide range of gases such as biogas or natural gas for the Bitburger brewery. Its proven reliability and availability are keys to achieving the successful 50,000-hour operating milestone.’

In general, CHP applications are growing in Germany to support the country’s energy turnaround efforts, as well as throughout Europe, based on the CHP incentives that are a key part of the European Union’s 20-20-20 initiative.

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