This summer, DC Water, the water utility company of Washington DC, will begin using a common, albeit not a highly utilized resource in order to generate a commodity that every company needs with electricity. This source of its electricity is none other than human waste, although personnel at DC Water call them “biosolids”. We are lucky to get to install an In Building Wireless system, or Distributed Antenna System (DAS), in the underground facility before the smell begins...
This delightful yet disgusting method of generating electricity will take place at DC Water’s spacious Blue Plains Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant. Behind this $470 million system is a crucial process created by a Norwegian company, Cambi. The process is called thermal hydrolysis (THP). It is the first of its kind in North America, and the basic procedure is to cook the “biosolids” into a recipe so that microbes can then burn the methane they produce to generate power. Thankfully, the ghastly smell will be removed once the methane gas is extracted.
The vast size of the facility calls for a modern underground communication system. DC Water has awarded Morcom a contract to install a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) to serve the 6 miles of tunnels that exist under the plant in Washington DC. This DAS will enable clear communications for public safety and administrative task forces within the Blue Plains facility’s underground tunnels and galleries. This is highly needed as the establishment is the largest advanced wastewater treatment plant in the world, serving over 2 million customers in the Washington DC metro area, covering 150 acres and maintaining a capacity of 370 million gallons per day (MGD), with a peak capacity of 1.07 billion gallons per day (BGD).
The utilization of this Cambi system will cut DC Water’s electricity bill by one third. Rather than letting your “waste” go to waste, why not use it to cut your electricity bill? Human poop may be a game changer in the electricity industry. Everyone struggles with electricity bills- this could change the way we obtain our electricity forever. This system may work for large companies if they are equipped with those who are willing to work the plant, however it sounds like a feasible idea for smaller companies who may not have the money, nor the desire to fiddle with a resource so bizarre. We were glad to install our underground radio communication system prior to the actual usage of the resource.
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