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Combined Heat and Power: A Sleeping Giant May Be Waking

By District Energy posted 03-21-2019 10:11


Kennedy Maize, Power Engineering


One of the oldest energy efficiency ideas—combined heat and power—is prospering in the U.S. and looks promising elsewhere as the world searches for low-cost energy by increasing efficiency while lowering carbon dioxide emissions.

Last November, Penn State University issued a guide for those interested in combining natural gas-fueled electric and thermal energy generation—combined heat and power (CHP)—with renewable energy resources such as solar photovoltaic arrays and battery storage systems. Penn State’s “CHP-Enabled Renewable Energy in Microgrids in Pennsylvania: A Guidance Document for Conceiving Feasible Systems,” targets “owners of commercial and industrial buildings and properties with well-defined thermal loads, including retirement communities, multi-family buildings, hospitals, food processors and any large users of steam or hot water; commercial, institutional and industrial parks and campuses; and municipalities and rural co-op organizations.”

Penn State said, “Such systems provide an economically and environmentally attractive means to utilize Marcellus shale gas in combination with renewable energy resources to promote economic growth, with higher efficiency and lower emissions than conventional systems.”

On the same day, Mississippi State University (MSU) in Starkville announced a shared-savings deal with developers Greystar Real Estate Partners and Blue Sky Power for a combined cooling, heating, and power microgrid serving its new College View student residential-retail university village (Figure 1). The project will combine 285-kW of gas-fired generating capacity with two 1.5 MMBtu boilers and two 300-ton air-cooled chillers.

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