Ameresco Executes Historic Renewable Energy Contract

Published Date: 
Thu, 09/11/2008

San Antonio Water System LogoFraminhgam, MA - San Antonio Water System’s (SAWS) Board of Trustees has approved a truly innovative contract with Ameresco, Inc. (Ameresco), which will take Biogas, a byproduct of the anaerobic digestion process from biosolids, containing 60 percent methane, and use it as a green energy source.

Eighty percent of the city’s biosolids – the solids remaining after liquid waste is removed – are used to generate compost in San Antonio. With the new contract, the methane gas captured during the sewage treatment process at SAWS Dos Rios Water Recycling Center will add an additional environmentally friendly product to the lineup which currently includes recycled water – sold to manufacturers and major landscapers – and compost.

Ameresco will design, engineer, permit, construct, own, operate, manage and maintain the gas conditioning and distribution facility and the pipelines necessary to transfer and sell the gas to commercial natural gas pipelines.

“This is the culmination of a tremendous amount of hard work and ingenuity along with a great partnership with SAWS in order to implement this groundbreaking ‘renewable resource’ project.” Said Michel T. Bakas, Ameresco’s Vice President of Renewable Energy. “This will be an exciting project for the partners.”

“Efforts such as this provide significant environmental benefits through the reduction of emissions that positively impact the local community and our reliance on fossil fuels.” said Bakas.

The Ameresco biogas treatment facility will employ about 1.5 million standard cubic feet of biogas a day. The project will provide improvement to the environmental impact of the SAWS Wastewater Treatment Plant through the major reduction of flared emissions at the site.

“Due to the increases we are experiencing in the price of energy, this project is now a very smart investment for the environment and regional community,” said SAWS Chief Operating Officer Steve Clouse “SAWS will be the only large wastewater utility actively selling biogas in the United States.”

“The citizens of San Antonio produce about 140,000 tons of biosolids each year,” adds Clouse. “Treating these biosolids generates an average of 1.5 million cubic feet of gas a day – that’s enough gas to fill seven commercial blimps or 1,250 tanker trucks each day.”

“Most of that gas is currently burned off using flares. We have been working hard over the last few years to develop a process to improve the consistent quality and quantity of gas produced. Now we’re very pleased that we can capture and sell it, which is good for San Antonio’s air quality and puts this renewable energy resource to work for San Antonio,” said Clouse.

“This recycling gas project produces environmental gains for our citizens and cuts processing costs for the City. Ameresco’s innovative green solution will make the utility the first in the nation to capture and sell methane generated while treating the city’s sewage.” said Clouse.

An award-winning renewable energy developer, Ameresco, Inc., is the largest independent comprehensive energy solutions provider in North America. Headquartered in Framingham Massachusetts, Ameresco uses innovative strategies, systems, and technologies for renewable and sustainable energy generation and infrastructure renewal, thereby reducing operating expenses, increasing energy reliability and enhancing the environment.

Release Date: 9/11/2008