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February 12, 2018

St. Cloud and Donohue Receive ACEC MN Engineering Excellence Grand Award

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The City of St. Cloud, Minnesota, and Donohue & Associates are recipients of a prestigious 2018 Engineering Excellence Grand Award from ACEC Minnesota. The award recognizes engineering achievements that exhibit the highest degree of merit and ingenuity.

St. Cloud is a leader in innovative, cost-effective, and sustainable practices. Donohue collaborated with its wastewater treatment facility to produce a Resource Recovery and Energy Efficiency Master Plan that is guiding the City along its path to energy neutrality and greater resource recovery. This path includes the design of recently constructed Energy Efficiency and Biofuel Recovery improvements.

Prior to this project, the facility burned off a large fraction of biofuel released during the anaerobic digestion process. To capture this renewable energy, efficient biofuel conditioning equipment and a biofuel-driven engine generator convert the biofuel to electricity and heat. The electricity powers wastewater treatment processes and the heat is used to heat buildings and the anaerobic digestion process. A unique biological desulfurization system, the first municipal installation in Minnesota, cleans the biofuel.

April 11, 2017, will forever be known as “Energy Independence Day” at St. Cloud: the first day the wastewater treatment facility produced 100% of its required energy and achieved Net Zero Energy status. St. Cloud is the first municipal wastewater treatment facility in Minnesota to achieve this status. The facility produces more than 90% of its required electricity on average annually, exceeding purchased energy reduction goals 17 years ahead of schedule.

The Engineering Excellence entries were judged based on the following criteria: originality and innovation; future value to the engineering profession; social, economic and sustainable design considerations; complexity; and meeting the client’s needs. The St. Cloud project was one of eight projects to receive a Grand Award. To see a complete list of award winners, visit www.acecmn.org

The City was also recently recognized as a Utility of the Future Today by the Water Environment Federation. This award celebrates the achievements of forward-thinking, innovative water utilities that are providing resilient value-added service to communities. To learn more, visit www.wef.org/utility-of-the-future.

Accepting the ACEC MN Engineering Excellence Grand Award are (pictured above, left to right): Ashley Hammerbeck, Donohue; Emma Larson, City of St. Cloud; Tracy Hodel, City of St. Cloud; Mike Gerbitz, Donohue; Brian Schoenecker, City of St. Cloud; Patrick Shea, City of St. Cloud; and Tim Korby, Donohue.

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