EPA Awards Macon
The Macon Energy Center received an Energy Star award from the Environmental Protection Agency. Not only do electric customers see lower, more stable rates, the joint-operation is also more environmentally friendly. The EPA is recognizing Macon Municipal Utilities' turbine electric generator in conjunction with the "POET Bio-Refining" ethanol plant. By cooperating, the Macon Energy Center is reducing emissions, while cutting costs.
"This combined heat and power system increases operating efficiency, decreases energy costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions," said Kris Lancaster, from the EPA. "It requires approximately 25 percent less fuel than a typical on site steam generation."
Macon Municipal Utilities' generator takes natural gas and compresses it. Once the gas is compressed, it passes through a turbine engine, similar to those on an airplane, which powers the city's 10 megawatt generator. The heat generated from the turbine is used to make steam, which is then passed to the adjacent ethanol plant.
"We're working in the right direction, we're cutting energy costs," said Mitchell Essing, POET Macon Bio-Refining Technical Manager.
"We cut the energy costs to this plant approximately 15 to 20 percent, essentially by using waste heat."
By working together, the two plants are reducing carbon dioxide emissions by more than 28,000 tons per year, the equivalent of the emissions of 4,500 cars. The Macon Energy Center is one of just two plants nationwide to receive the award. Plans are in development for similar plants in Laddiona and Nevada.