Fact Sheet for Hudson Valley Community College Cogeneration Plant Public Meeting
What is the purpose of the proposed methane cogeneration facility at Hudson Valley Community College?
The purpose of the proposed facility is to utilize the naturally occurring methane generated by decomposition in the former Troy landfill, located adjacent to the college campus. The methane will meet approximately 80 percent of the college's electric load, decreasing over time until, after 14 years, the methane will no longer be available to produce the college's electricity.
How does methane cogeneration work?
Methane produced by the landfill will be piped to the college's generation station where it will be burned to power four gas-fired generators. The generators will produce the electricity, which will be transmitted to the college's electrical system. The facility actually will burn both methane and natural gas to power the generators, so that when the methane levels decrease from the landfill, the facility will readily be able to switch over to natural gas.
In addition, the waste heat produced by the operation of the system will be used in the McDonough Sports Complex to power a heating/air conditioning system. This use of the waste heat will be at no additional expense to the college.
Where will the proposed facility be located? How big will it be?
The proposed facility will be located beyond the left field fence of the baseball stadium directly behind the Physical Plant building. The building will be approximately 8,000 square feet in size and will be two stories tall. An underground pipe will connect the facility to the methane taps at the landfill.
What is currently being done with the methane gas generated by the landfill?
The methane gas that is currently produced by the landfill is being burned off utilizing a large flare located at the east end of the landfill site. The cogen plant will eliminate approximately 80 percent of the use of the flare, however it will still be needed, as the college will not be able to burn all of the methane produced all the time.
Is this a "clean" solution?
Yes. This is a clean, environmentally safe solution because methane, a "greenhouse gas," will be burned more efficiently and not allowed to escape to the atmosphere as currently happens with the landfill. The greenhouse gas reduction benefits of a typical three-megawatt landfill gas project (such as the one proposed) equate to planting more than 48,000 acres of forest per year or removing the annual emissions from more than 36,000 cars. These statistics are provided by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
The noise generated by the facility will be confined to the room in which the generators are located. The noise will not be noticeable outside of the proposed facility. There will be no extraneous external lighting needed for the facility.
Will the proposed facility generate an unpleasant odor?
No. The plant will not produce any odors. The combustion process is clean and complete. The most noticeable emission will be water vapor, but that will only been seen during the winter months.
Are there other facilities like this nearby?
There are other similar facilities located nearby, the closest being the Saratoga County Nursing Home (Maplewood Manor). However, that facility does not burn landfill-produced methane. It only burns natural gas. The college is taking advantage of the fact that the adjacent landfill has a ready supply of burnable methane.
Who is partnering in this venture?
The college has contracted with Siemens Building Technologies Inc. to build the methane cogeneration facility.
Does Siemens have experience building methane cogeneration facilities like the one proposed for Hudson Valley Community College?
Siemens has built several cogeneration facilities utilizing methane.
Will the methane cogeneration facility bring other benefits?
The facility will provide the college with energy independence, and effectively allow it to serve as an emergency shelter for the surrounding community. If, for some reason, power is interrupted for an extended period of time in the region, campus facilities may provide emergency shelter for the community.
The facility also will house a classroom that will be used by Hudson Valley Community College's Plant Utilities Technology program. Small- to medium-sized cogeneration plants are becoming more widely used nationwide, and the facility will be a great training tool for potential plant operators.
What is the time frame for working on the proposed facility?
The facility is scheduled to be operational by October 31, 2003.