U of A News
The University of Arkansas Utility Operations Division of Facilities Management completed its first gas turbine engine replacement during the last week of October.
The turbine was due for replacement based on predictive maintenance measures including the number of operating hours and general health of the engine. The engine condition is continually monitored using on-board sensors, which measure engine vibration and temperature. Power Plant operators also continuously monitor the condition of the gas turbine generator package as a part of their 24/7 operating responsibilities and help determine when a replacement is necessary.
The Solar/Caterpillar turbine generator uses a natural gas-fired aeroderivative "jet engine" to spin an electric generator. This produces approximately 40% of the university's annual electrical energy requirements and meets approximately 25% of the annual peak power demand.
The natural gas turbine is part of a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system that produces more than one type of useable energy from the fossil fuel consumed. CHP, also called "Co-Generation," produces both electricity from the generator and useable heat from the turbine exhaust, which provides steam and heating hot water for the campus. Creating two forms of useable energy allows the university to compete with local energy providers.