Canadian Biomass Magazine

Construction begins on San Bernardino renewable biofuels project

May 5, 2020
By FuelCell Energy

FuelCell Energy, Inc., a global leader in fuel cell technology, with a purpose of utilizing its proprietary, state-of-the-art fuel cell platforms to enable a world empowered by clean energy, announced the commencement of site construction for its 1.4 megawatt SureSource 1500 biofuels fuel cell project with the City of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department (SBMWD) in California. The project is expected to become commercially operational in December 2020.

Key highlights include:

  • The SureSource 1500 power plant will operate on the city’s anaerobic digester gas (ADG), which will be treated by the proprietary SureSource Treatment system, cleanly producing electricity and thermal energy to support the operation of the SBMWD water reclamation plant.
  • The SureSource Treatment system is a proprietary clean up technology optimized by FuelCell Energy’s extensive experience with on-site biogas treatment. This system allows FuelCell Energy to clean up biofuel and use it on site without injection into the common carrier gas pipeline. Gas treatment requirements are reduced compared to pipeline injection because of the ability of SureSource fuel cell systems to utilize low-Btu biogas.
  • Following the commercial operation date, the SBMWD will purchase the clean electricity produced through a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
  • FuelCell Energy’s SureSource power platform will use methane–rich biogas that would otherwise be flared, wasting energy and producing emissions, to produce clean, renewable, carbon neutral power.
  • Servicing a population of approximately 200,000 residents, the SBMWD delivers more than 15.5 billion gallons of water per year, and provides wastewater collection and treatment at the water reclamation plant.
  • Pursuant to FuelCell Energy’s existing $200 million credit agreement with Orion Energy Partners, Orion Energy Partners has agreed that up to $3.5 million previously advanced by Orion Energy Partners and currently in a FuelCell Energy restricted account may be applied to reimburse the company for construction costs for the project incurred to date and for future project construction costs.

“A few months ago, FuelCell Energy committed to executing on the build-out of our PPA backlog. That is exactly what we are doing. We are excited to enter the construction phase of our 1.4 megawatt project with the city of San Bernardino Municipal Water Department. The San Bernardino SureSource platform will utilize our utility-scale fuel cell power and heat platform, coupled with our proprietary engineered biogas treatment system,” commented Jason Few, president and chief executive officer, FuelCell Energy. “The continuous power profile of our platforms makes them an excellent fit with wastewater treatment plants. Specifically, our fuel cell can operate at peak efficiency utilizing the on-site anaerobic digester gas while providing important thermal heat that enhances the treatment process. Perhaps most importantly, our platform will enable the reduction in usage of another flare.”

Miguel Guerrero, general manager of the San Bernardino Municipal Water Department, commented, “The FuelCell Energy fuel cell plant will produce renewable energy for the water department by using the biogas generated at the Water Reclamation Plant. Especially important to our city is the reduction of the flaring of the waste water treatment biogas, which is also a key element in the Department’s compliance plans with the South Coast Air Quality Management District.”


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