Consol Energy to test waste methane power generation

Posted August 31, 2010

Observer-Reporter

Consol Energy Inc. on Monday received a state grant of $529,000 to assist in the development of a power generation project fueled by waste methane.

The grant, announced by state Rep. Peter J. Daley, D-California, chairman of the House Commerce Committee, was approved by the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority. Daley is a board member and one of the prime legislative sponsors of the authority's programs.

In a news release, Daley said Consol will donate the value of the electricity generated during the first two months of operation to the Charleroi Area School District.

Southpointe-based Consol will use the funding to demonstrate and deploy a microturbine generator to capture and use a waste stream from a coalbed methane processing plant in Fallowfield Township to produce electricity.

"We are very pleased to enter into this partnership with the commonwealth to demonstrate a technology that will turn a former waste into a resource and then generate clean electricity from it," said Steve Winberg, Consol's vice president for research and development.

"This grant demonstrates that Southwestern Pennsylvania is on the forefront in finding new ways to utilize an untapped resource to create efficient methods to generate energy while reducing air emissions," Daley said. "The microturbine will generate electricity from waste methane gas that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere."

The benefits include the recovery of a lost resource of clean natural gas, the reduction in the emission of that same methane, the generation of clean electricity from a distributed generator and creation of knowledge to promote future applications of this technology throughout Pennsylvania.

Energy cost savings on the project will result in more than $832,000 for the next 20 years and will provide for local construction, operating and maintenance jobs. Copyright Observer Publishing Co.