Location: Hamilton, Ontario

Application: Organic Waste

MW Production: 1.6 MW

Products: Caterpillar G3520C

Primary Fuel Type: Biogas

About Woodward Avenue Watewater Treatment Plant

Over the past 15 years, the City of Hamilton has become leaders in environmental management and pollution reduction. When the Ontario Ministry of Energy announced a renewable energy initiative in 2004, the City of Hamilton saw an opportunity. Anaerobic digesters at the city’s Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant produced 6 million cubic meters of biogas per year at 65 percent methane. The plant burned some of the gas in a boiler for heating, but flared the majority of it. Seeing the gas as a source of renewable energy, the city responded to a Request for Proposals from the Ministry of Energy with plans for a 1.6 MW cogeneration facility fueled exclusively with digester methane.

Big Reduction In Pollution

Hamilton Renewable Power Inc. (HRPI) contracted Toromont Power Systems to undertake a turn-key project to utilize available biogas from the Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant in the City of Hamilton for the purposes of electricity generation and heat recovery. Toromont was required to integrate the generation equipment into existing infrastructure and was responsible for the detailed design, construct, and commission the digester gas cogeneration system.


At the treatment plant the biogas (methane) produced as a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process is fed into a Combine Heat and Power (CHP) plant on-site.

"Toromont Power Systems developed a highly competitive project plan and then did a great job of execution."

Jim Harnum, vice president of Hamilton Renewable Power Inc

The Woodward Wastewater Treatment facility is producing approximately 17,000 cubic meters of biogas through the normal wastewater treatment process per day. With the CHP plant, the treatment facility uses the biogas as a source of green renewable electricity and thermal energy in the form of hot water, which is distributed back to the facility for use in its wastewater digester process. The plant sells excess electricity to the Ontario electrical grid and decreased its operating cost by using biogas to offset the cost of natural gas. The raw biogas produced is stored in a large gas-storage sphere resembling a globe, which has become an iconic landmark in the City of Hamilton.


G3520C A Proven Performer

Toromont delivered the complete cogeneration system in a stand-alone module with a sound-attenuated enclosure. At the heart of the system is a Cat G3520C gas engine in a configuration designed to be durable and reliable in burning low-energy fuels without needing extensive fuel conditioning. A specially designed cooling system elevates jacket water to the optimum temperature to prevent condensation of fuel-borne sulfur compounds and the formation of sulfuric acid. "Because we chose this engine, the digester fuel conditioning system requires only a moisture removal system followed by a coalescing filter to remove remaining moisture droplets and particulate," says Peter Ronson, Toromont account manager. The enclosure contains jacket water and first-stage aftercooler heat exchangers and an exhaust gas boiler. Heated water from the engine passes through a plate-and-frame heat exchanger connected to the treatment plant process heat loop.

Reliable Maintenance

Under the city's contract with the Ministry of Energy, Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant supplies renewable energy at a fixed price per kilowatt-hour, with escalators. The facility operates continuously, fulfilling nearly all the wastewater treatment plant heat load and 20 percent of its electrical load. The efficiency at the on-site CHP plant exceeds 80 percent. HRPI signed a long-term Customer Service Agreement with Toromont Power Systems at a fixed price per kilowatt-hour, covering all maintenance, service, overhauls, and replacement parts. A Toromont technician makes regular visits to the treatment plant, however critical engine and generator functions, shutdowns, and alarms are monitored remotely from Toromont Power System headquarters to ensure the equipment is operating properly. Jim Harnum, vice president of HRPI, expresses pride in the installation of a CHP plant at Woodward Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant. "We had been producing high-quality methane for years," he says. "We had an opportunity to make a positive contribution to Ontario's renewable energy program and at the same time save on treatment plant operating costs. "We needed more backup generating capacity, but instead of simply making an expenditure for that purpose, we made an investment in long-term revenue generation. Toromont Power Systems developed a highly competitive project plan and then did a great job of execution. We look forward to a long working relationship with them as we supply renewable energy for the residents and businesses in Ontario.

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