P&G moves beyond paper
BY ROBERT L. BAKER
Times Shamrock Writer
With its brand new cogenerator plant – known as Cogen2 – Procter & Gamble Mehoopany has entered the 21st Century in a big way.
Yes, the facility still consumes 800 billion kilowatt hours or enough energy to run 40,000 homes to make lots of Pamper Diapers, Charmin tissue and Bounty paper towels.
But it does so in a way few could have dreamed about 28 years ago when a more conventional electricity generating plant was completed.
P&G’s Mehoopany Site Leader William Sims said recently that rather than transporting Marcellus shale gas elsewhere, the core principle behind Cogen2 is the siting of gas-fired power generation as close as possible to fuel supply and electricity demand, with the goal of improving overall market efficiencies and being an important part of the energy solution.
“In a nutshell that means let’s take the energy that’s right here and tap into it in such a way that it powers what we do on the product lines every day,” plant spokesman Alex Fried said.
A year ago the Marcellus gas from beneath its property was providing 50 percent of the production facility’s electrical needs and for the last 45 years, it has easily been the largest electricity and natural gas customer for local utilities.
In May, with the completion of its $50 million Cogen2, P&G-Mehoopany became the first energy self-sustaining facility of Procter & Gamble’s 150 plants worldwide.
“We’re very pleased it has happened here in Wyoming County,” Fried said.
Just 10 years ago, the P&G plant was dreaming about tapping into wind energy and using that inexhaustible resource to supplement a cogeneration plant built in 1985.
But, that all changed five years ago with the discovery of how to cost-effectively tap into the Marcellus, and the good fortune to be sitting on a so-called ‘honey hole’ of natural gas.
While the rest of the country was deep into a recession in March of 2009, the local P&G plant was looking up after entering a gas lease with Citrus Energy.
The next month plant officials had their first meetings with Citrus and UGI- which was supplying gas previously- on how if gas is found all three parties could work together to pipe gas into the plant and possibily reverse the gas moved by UGI back to the Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Susquehanna County.
By the end of 2009 Citrus had found the Marcellus gas and within six months, gas began flowing from its first well on P&G property into the P&G production facility.
Within 16 months, Procter & Gamble was operating on 100 percent Marcellus gas.
Today, the state-of-the art Cogen2, along with Cogen1, not only enables the site to satisfy its electrical power demand, but “at times we produce more than we use and sell it back to the grid,” plant spokesman Alex Fried said.
“Maybe enough energy to power up to 20,000 homes,” Fried said.
The project was funded in the fall of 2010 and ground was broken in April 2012 for a plant that mostly looks like something out of a Transformer movie.
In addition to a 64MW Rolls-Royce gas turbine and electric generator, Cogen2 also has a heat recovery boiler that captures steam for paper drying and plant heat and additionally creates more hot air at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for drying paper on product lines #7 and #8.
Cogen 1, built in 1985, but now also fueled by Marcellus gas, has also been using its excess hot air for drying paper on six production lines.
In 2010 – while Cogen2 was getting off the drawing books – a boiler heat recovery project was completed that recovered enough energy to heat 16,900 homes, and a papermaking hot air project was redirecting hot air from one part of the process to another and that allowed for recovery of enough energy to heat 10,000 homes.
Although there was a modest increase in P&G Utilities Department staffing, Fried admitted the Cogen2 plant has no on-site personnel, but is monitored remotely about 1,500 feet away.
He said Cogen2’s impact on the local economy was felt in the approximately 200,000 construction effort hours over about a 2-year period.
Other interesting facts about Cogen2 and its impact to P&G and the environment:
*The gas turbine produces 85,000 horsepower, equivalent to 283 Chevy Silverados.
*Electricity produced by the new turbine would support 60,000 households.
*The project has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 100,000 tons a year, equivalent to taking 16,000 cars off the road.
*The heat recovery boiler produces enough steam to run more than 10 locomotives.
P&G’s Path to environmental sustainability
Feb. 2008: Penn State Prof. Terry Engelder of Penn State releases paper on accessibility of the Marcellus Shale. P&G begins developing plans to work with local gas companies to explore on P&G property.
March 2009: Gas lease signed between Citrus Energy and P&G.
April 2009: First meetings with Citrus and then supplier of gas UGI about how to proceed if gas found.
Dec. 2009: Citrus finds gas on P&G property.
June 2010: Gas begins to flow from first well on P&G property into the facility
Oct. 2010: Gas from third well flows into P&G and plant is obtaining all gas from its property
Oct. 2011: UGI and UGI Energy Services complete reversal of Auburn line – to flow excess Citrus gas back to Tennessee Gas Pipeline market. P&G is now 100% local Marcellus gas.
August 2012: Fast fill Compressed Natural Gas station eliminates need for 400,000 gallons of diesel for vehicles between plant and warehouse.
Feb. 2013: UGI Energy Services receives Washington Twp. approval to begin construction of new Auburn 2 pipeline to take gas from Manning station to Transco and Wilkes Barre UGI PNG interconnect.
April 2013: Cogen 2 power plant converting Marcellus gas to electricity is completed allowing plant to produce all its required electrical power and sell excess to PJM/Penelec Grid.