People. Power. Potential. These three words define SFCC’s Energy Innovation Center (EIC), a unique, community-led alternative energy research, development, commercialization, and training center.
The center, located on a five-acre site at the Waste Corporation of Missouri central landfill in Pettis County, has a three-pronged focus:
- Provide an exceptional teaching and learning environment with hands-on training for SFCC students who want to enter the biomass job market
- Convert methane gas from 58 wells into electricity that generates as much as 2.4 megawatts onto KCP&L’s grid—enough to power 1,500 homes
- Offer an incubator for businesses interested in exploring new energy technologies
In 2009, a formal partnership between SFCC, local and state agencies and businesses developed a plan for the center. Over the next two years, SFCC received more than $4 million in funding to hire consultants and a curriculum designer and to construct a building and power generator.
In fall 2011, Gov. Jay Nixon presided over a groundbreaking for the center, which opened in 2013. The center cost $3.4 million and includes:
- an interactive classroom with two plant operation simulators
- engine and operator/control rooms with a heat recovery absorption chiller system
- a large incubator in which to develop and test new energy technologies and prototypes
Two Jenbacher engines are used to convert methane to electricity; SFCC provided the 1.0 MW engine, and PPSGroup provided the 1.4 MW engine, which cost about $1.4 million. There is room to install one more.