Currently not operating, this device serves to burn the methane gas in the event that the generator is not available. This will ensure that the methane generated by the landfill continues to be destroyed.
This is merely the industrial version of the circuit box in your home. All of the high voltage units are connected here and protected from over-load and electrical shorts.
The is the main control panel which coordinates the activities of the blower skid, generator, and the utility (PECO). A touch screen is used to show system status, and to provide an interface for the operator to control the entire system. The controls are tied to both PECO and PJM for monitoring and control.
The poles coming into the plant run at 34,500 volts. This transformer steps the power down to 480 volts for our use.
Looks familiar, right? These are simply industrial versions of the meters used at your home. One meter accounts for the electricity supplied by PECO for periods when the engine is not functioning, and the other shows how much electricity SECCRA Power has pumped into the grid.
Just like in your car, the engine (generator) needs to have a radiator for cooling purposes. The green pipes carry the coolant to and from this radiator. There is a large fan on top to draw the heat away. This keeps the engine temperature right around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Consider this a huge vacuum cleaner. Two vacuum pumps serve to suck the gas out of the landfill. Other equipment on this skid is used to get the water vapor out of the moist gas, because the moisture could corrode the insides of the generator.
The SECCRA Power complex consists of a building where the generator is housed, transformers, meters, a radiator, a blower skid and a backup flare. Pump House 2, unrelated to SECCRA Power is shown on the left.
In order to support combustion, a large quantity of oxygen is required to be mixed with the landfill gas inside the engine. The vent fans provide this air to the engine, in tandem with the motorized louvers located on the opposite side of the building.
This is the workhorse of our plant. For simplicity, we call this unit the generator, however it is a Caterpillar 3516, 16-cylinder engine, coupled directly to a generator, which makes the electricity. This particular generator typically burns natural gas or diesel fuel and is used for standby power at hospitals, large boats, and locomotive trains. However, it is equally suited for our application and has been modified to run on our landfill gas instead of natural gas.