Phoenixville Green Power Project is one of two to win a national award

PHOENIXVILLE – The borough is one of only two municipalities nationwide to be selected for a $ 250,000 “Water Resource Recovery Award” from the US Department of Energy for its efforts to convert wastewater into energy.

The other award-winning project is in Washington state.

The Borough of Phoenixville has partnered with a company called SoMax BioEnergy for the transformation of its wastewater treatment plant to “convert local biosolids and food waste to efficiently create renewable energy that powers their wastewater treatment. and creates excess energy that will be used to meet their goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, ”according to the Department of Energy.

“The designs proposed by these teams could revolutionize the way wastewater treatment plants treat wastewater, agricultural runoff and more,” according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s announcement. “This could not only save money, but also save valuable resources that are currently being lost.”

“Throughout our history, the Borough of Phoenixville has always led the way in revolutionary technology,” Phoenixville Borough Council Chairman Jonathan Ewald said in a press release announcing the award.

“I, along with my borough council colleagues, am extremely proud to continue this tradition of innovation by building the infrastructure of tomorrow today. This system represents an important step in municipal government innovation that improves the local environment, decreases the borough’s long-term dependence on fossil fuels, and improves the overall efficiency of community money. taxpayers. I hope the SoMax project represents the first of many regional infrastructure improvement projects that are being built in the best interests of future generations, ”said Ewald.

The $ 250,000 prize will help advance the next stage of a state-of-the-art water harvesting platform, which is expected to be online by the first quarter of 2022, according to Ewald.

In 2017, Phoenixville became the first community in Pennsylvania and the 44th in the country to adopt the “Loan for 100 Pledges,” with the goal of fully switching to clean energy by 1035. Of all of the borough’s assets , the sewage treatment plant is the biggest consumer of energy, Ewald said in a video produced about the project.

The carbon-neutral energy that the SoMax process will produce represents 150% of the plant’s current demand and the technology is easily replicated across the country, Ewald said.

“The process pioneered by SoMax Bio Energy uses a” process called hydrothermal carbonization, a chemical process that mimics the natural million-year-old method of creating lignite and converts biomass (like local food waste) into fuel renewable in just a few hours. According to the National Resources Recovery Laboratory.

“The concept of hydrothermal carbonization here in North America began with the borough’s partnership with SoMax BioEnergy,” Phoenixville borough manager E. Jean Krack said in the press release.

“The borough council has authorized funding of more than $ 3 million to make the necessary changes to the wastewater treatment plant and add the new equipment needed to start the proof of concept for wastewater treatment. This was followed by support from our Chester County Commissioners with a grant of $ 402,000 and from the Commonwealth with an additional $ 650,000 in grants through the H2O program, ”Krack said. “This award is incredible recognition that Phoenixville is now nationally recognized by the Department of Energy.”

“This DOE approval increases SoMax BioEnergy’s confidence that our technology is ready for adoption and replication in municipal wastewater treatment plants across the United States to decarbonize an essential service essential to human health and environmental, ”said Dan Spracklin, Founder and CEO of SoMax Circular Solutions.

“I was more than happy to help by supporting their candidacy. I am delighted to know that this unique project will continue to grow, ”said United States Representative Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th Dist., In a press release issued by her office.

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