Phoenixville Names Wastewater Treatment Project: PXVNEO

PHOENIXVILLE, PA —The Borough of Phoenixville recently revealed its plan to build the first hydrothermal carbonization (HCT) system at a wastewater treatment plant in North America. On Thursday, that project —the facility and technology —was given a name: PXVNEO.

The borough also revealed an updated timeline on the project, which suggests construction is set to begin during the first quarter of 2022.

Selected from a group of contenders presented by a naming and branding consultant, PXVNEO also has an accompanying logo featuring a phoenix, the mythical bird, according to borough officials.

Officials said HTC plants have been successful in Europe and Asia since 2016, but that anaerobic digestion is the de facto standard for wastewater treatment in the United States.

In April 2019, during the HTC feasibility and design stages, the borough council decided that its system deserved special recognition in the form of a name and logo.

“We believe that this plant could be a model for municipalities all around the country,” said Jon Ewald, president of Phoenixville Borough Council. “There is the potential for what we’re doing here today to have far-reaching positive implications, and we need to be sure the borough, who assumed the risk, is credited as much as the technology is.”

According to the borough, HTC is faster, safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly than anaerobic digestion. In fact, HTC has the power to offset the carbon use of every driver residing in Phoenixville, officials said.

Additionally, HTC has the potential to yield beneficial bioproducts, including: biocoal, construction sand, synthetic gas and improved fertilizers.

Phoenixville previously announced that it is partnering with Spring City’s SoMax BioEnergy, to modernize the borough’s current wastewater treatment facilities.

The wastewater treatment plant is Phoenixville’s largest user of energy, and soon it will have the ability to create enough energy to “not only power itself, but to power the community or return the energy to the grid,” officials said.

Phoenixville officials also said they hope the brand has the potential to be scaled, in modular fashion, to other utilities within the borough. Or, that PXVNEO will be repurposed for other municipalities, which will turn to Phoenixville and SoMax for guidance on improving their own wastewater treatment systems.

According to the Borough of Phoenixville, the PXVNEO project’s updated timeline is as follows:

2017: Phoenixville Borough commits to 100 percent clean energy
(operations and vehicles) by 2035
2019: SoMax HTC proposal adopted
2021 Q2: Plant structure upgrades — new slab and roof
2021 Q3: Equipment purchasing
2021 Q4: Equipment arrival
2022 Q1: Installation and construction, HTC process commissioning
2022 Q2: Full-time transition from anaerobic digestion to HTC
2022 Q3: Apply for extended use from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
2023: Increase HTC capacity and explore waste material procurement, potentially from
other municipalities
2024: Carbon-neutral electricity generation

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