WAITSFIELD, Vt., May 7, 2003 — Northern Power Systems has been selected by SC Johnson to engineer, build and install a sophisticated cogeneration power system at the company’s Waxdale plant in Racine, Wisconsin.
Northern’s system will burn methane gas from a nearby landfill to generate a capacity of 3.2MW of electricity (one-half of the facility’s current power demand) and recover the waste heat from the exhaust to make 17,000 pounds of plant steam per hour (or 17 million BTUs). In addition, the new system will reduce the plant’s CO2 emissions, the principal greenhouse gas (GHG), by 32,000 tons per year, or 47%.
The new cogeneration system utilizes a 3,200 kW turbine with a Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG), proprietary Northern system controls, power electronics, conditioning equipment, storage, and environmental systems and housing.
The system is expected to yield $2.66 million in annual energy savings based on electricity demand reduction and natural gas savings. In addition to generating cost savings and a favorable return on investment, the system will help reduce atmospheric emissions and support environmental and climate management.
System Uses Methane Gas from Landfill Decomposition as Fuel Source
Ordinarily, the methane gas–which is produced along with carbon dioxide as landfill waste decomposes–is flared off into the atmosphere. In the new system, the methane is piped a distance of 2/3 mile from the landfill to the Waxdale facility and used to fire the turbine generator, which then produces electricity for use in the plant.
The waste heat from this process is then recovered via the HRSG to produce steam. Using the methane as a fuel source for the Waxdale plant not only prevents the methane energy from being wasted in a flare, it supplants the facility’s need for natural gas and other fossil fuels.
Northern System Delivers Superior Waste Heat Recovery
In developing the Waxdale plant system, Northern used its “open technology” system design approach that provides customers with a full range of different technology and system options. After a rigorous evaluation process, the SC Johnson project team chose Northern’s solution because it will deliver the greatest environmental benefits and cost savings. By enabling virtually all of the waste heat to be recovered for the plant’s high-pressure steam for production and heating needs, the system will yield an overall efficiency of 70% while also offering the added benefit of high reliability.
Environmental concern, profits not mutually exclusive
Dan Reicher, executive vice president of Northern Power Systems and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy, noted that Northern’s system design proves that social responsibility and business economics can work together: “The Waxdale landfill gas system demonstrates to other large companies that concerns for the environment and the bottom line are not mutually exclusive.”
Reicher, who led a $1.2 billion program to advance energy efficiency, renewable energy and distributed generation, suggested that the project is a model for other companies to follow. “In embarking on this project and choosing Northern’s approach, SC Johnson is making a smart business decision and continuing a long history of corporate citizenship that other companies can emulate.”
System Supports Climate Initiatives
Northern’s support of the World Wildlife Fund Climate Change Program that promotes CO2 emissions reduction led to engineering discussions with environmental operations staff at SC Johnson. The discussions resulted in the realization that Northern could deliver a cogeneration system at the Waxdale plant that would support SC Johnson’s participation in the U.S. EPA Climate Leaders Initiative, which challenges corporations to make voluntary reductions in their GHG emissions.
By 2005, the environmental improvements resulting from the cogeneration system at the Waxdale plant will contribute to overall absolute emissions reductions of 8% from 2000 levels. In order to support the customer’s CO2 reduction commitments for this year, Northern will complete the project by the end of 2003 in an accelerated timeline.
“This is a unique project due to the combined heat and power application,” said Chris Voell, program manager of the EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program, of SC Johnson’s plan. Voell added that Northern’s design is one of the most energy efficient systems in the country, and one of only two projects of its kind to be run on landfill gas.
About Northern Power Systems
Northern Power Systems designs, builds and installs ultra-reliable electric power system solutions for industrial, commercial and government customers worldwide. Since the company’s founding in 1974, Northern has installed over 800 systems in 45 countries on all seven continents. For more information, visit Northern on the web at www.northernpower.com.