Onion-powered fuel cells

April 20, 2010
Biogas from onion peels is treated and used to power two fuel cells at a processing plant.

Waste from an onion processing plant runs two fuel cell generators at the facility in Oxnard, Calif. Gills Onions turns the onion waste to liquid, then puts it through an anaerobic digester, converting the juice to methane. The methane is then burned cleanly to power 600-kW fuel cells, supplying the Oxnard facility with enough clean electricity to run 460 homes.

The combination of the energy produced, cost savings generated, and grant funding achieved by the project will result in a full payback in less than six years, says lead contractor for the facility HDR, an architectural, engineering and consulting firm. HDR recently won a Grand Conceptor award from the American Council of Engineering Companies for its work on the plant which has been in operation since July 2009. More info here:



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