Wastewater to Energy System Being Tested in Hyannis

CCB MEDIA PHOTO Barnstable Town Hall.

Barnstable Town Hall.

HYANNIS – A unique pilot project underway at the Old Colony pumping station across from Barnstable Town Hall will determine whether wastewater can be used to generate energy that can help to heat and cool town buildings.

Officials from the state Department of Energy Resources led state and federal environmental officials on a tour of the pumping station last week to examine a system that uses a German-made Huber RoWin unit that the town is testing with a $50,000 grant from the state Department of Energy Resources’ Wastewater Energy Recovery Assistance Program.

Equipment installed at the station uses a heat exchange process called “wastewater energy recovery,” to take advantage of the relatively constant temperature of wastewater for space and water heating during the winter and to help cool buildings in the summer.

Heat exchange happens in a closed loop system between the wastewater and clean water, so the liquids do not come into contact with each other, according to information about the equipment provided by the town.

The way the system works is a portion of the wastewater flow at the pumping station is taken from the force main and screened to remove the majority of the solids that may be present in the wastewater. Flow then passes through the system equipment where the heat exchange process occurs and back to the pumping station by gravity.

Barnstable Town Manager Thomas Lynch said, “It’s my understanding that this is the only demonstration project in the country right now, so we are very pleased that we were the ones chosen to do that.”

The town’s Department of Public Works staffers in the Water Pollution Control division are working with GHD Inc., a local environmental engineering firm, to monitor the project.

Lynch said that data will be gathered for the next month and then the project managers will determine whether the system can be used here.

If the project is deemed feasible, the energy produced will supplement the heating and cooling needs of Barnstable Town Hall and the School Administration Building.

The town has invested in renewable energy, Lynch said, with solar and wind projects, as well as recycling efforts.

“This is something that’s new and cutting edge. . . . We’re going to be excited to see what the scientists tell us and whether this is something that we can move forward on on a permanent basis,” he said.

By LAURA M. RECKFORD, CapeCod.com News Editor

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