Albany County Sewer District: Incineration Waste Heat Recovery/Co-Generation Project

Addition to existing building: Albany County Sewer District: Incineration Waste Heat Recovery/Co-Generation Project; CDM Smith


A cogeneration unit is set in place during construction. Courtesy: CDM Smith (Click to enlarge)Project name: Albany County Sewer District: Incineration Waste Heat Recovery/Co-Generation Project

Location: Menands, N.Y.

Firm name: CDM Smith

Project type, building type: Addition to existing building, manufacturing

Project duration: 4 years

Project completion date: Dec. 1, 2012

Project budget for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection engineering only: $870,000

Engineering challenges

Issues related to this project included ensuring that the equipment would meet all applicable U.S. standards for the interconnection with the utility, ensuring that the plant personnel were comfortable operating the equipment, and helping the owner secure funding to move the project forward.


The CDM-led team was hired to independently evaluate and determine the feasibility of utilizing the high-temperature (1,000 to 1,250 F) exhaust gas flow from the incinerators to an organic rankine cycle system and drive a turbine generator. The CDM team also provided support to the Albany County Sewer District for an application to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which led to a grant for up to $2 million in engineering and construction funding. Additionally, the CDM team provided support to the district for an application to the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (NYSEFC), which led to a $5.8 million in Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP) funding. Results of the study predict the waste heat from the incinerators is expected to co-generate 3.3 million kWh per year (enough to power 3,000 households); reduce the district’s natural gas consumption by 100,000 therms per year, for a value of $475,000 annually at present rates; and reduce greenhouse gases by 1,445 tons/year. In addition, thermal energy reclaimed will be utilized for space heating, creating a combined heat and power (CHP) system.

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