Research Project Information

Research Project Summary Information

Evaluating Alternatives for Biogas Clean-up & Use at Gloversville-Johnstown Joint WWTP(ST9404-1)

Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.


Anaerobic digestion is used to process sludge generated at the Gloversville Johnstown Joint Wastewater Treatment Facility (GJJWWTF). In addition to sludge, the GJJWWTF accepts dairy processing whey and other dairy processing waste streams that are fed directly to the digesters. Two anaerobic digester gas (ADG)-fueled internal combustion (IC) engines generate approximately 34% of the facility’s electricity; the engines have experienced significant wear and tear as a result. Although the engines are operational 24/7, the WWTF is still required to flare more than 20% of its ADG due to the capacity limitations of engines. By installing a gas clean-up system, wear and tear on the engines would be reduced (by removing impurities from the ADG) and alternative technologies for increased on-site electrical generation could be considered.

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Project Description

The objectives of the project were to 1) review the existing operations of the GJJWWTF and proposed operational modifications; 2) evaluate the potential impacts of proposed modifications on ADG production; 3) assess current ADG quality; 4) assess potential impacts of gas impurities on existing cogeneration equipment; 5) identify alternative technologies for clean-up of the ADG; and 6) evaluate the feasibility of alternative end uses of the ADG, including potential regulatory implications.


If additional dairy processing waste streams are received, ADG production would increase by up to 75%. The value of the unused ADG would equal approximately $25,000 to $30,000 per month. The results of the study provided the GJJWWTF a broad range of options for planning future ADG recovery and use.

Project Results

Installation of two new IC engines was recommended for the GJJWWTF. Although microturbines could probably also meet the plant’s requirements, GJJWWTF personnel are familiar with the operations and maintenance requirements for IC engines, minimizing the need for operator training and effect on current operations. Additionally, it is expected that the organic loading treated by GJJWWTF will continue to increase; the increased loading will result in greater ADG production than that used in this evaluation, which will allow the IC engines to be operated more closely to their design capacity and would exceed the fuel demand of the microturbines. Given the relatively low capital and operating costs, it was also recommended that a carbon adsorption gas cleanup system be installed to extend engine life.


Malcolm Pirnie, Inc.
Accounts Receivable 23444 Network Place
Chicago, IL 60673

Principle Investigator

Daniel Loewenstein

Universities Involved


Project Type:

Research Study

Technologies Types:

Waste Management and Pollution Prevention
Water/Wastewater treatment systems

NYSERDA Contact Information

Kathleen O'Connor


R&D - Environment & Energy Res

Contract Details

Start Date: 1/11/2010
Project Status: Active
Contract Number: ST9404-1

Last Updated: 1/10/2011