The Carl J. Eckhardt Combined Heating and Power Complex is often described as the largest and most integrated microgrid in the U.S. The University of Texas at Austin campus features a Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP) with a 134 MW power capacity and 1.2 million lb/hr steam generation capacity. Peak load levels have reached 64 MW for power and 320,000 lb/hr for steam. The single largest electrical load on campus is the cooling system that provides 63,000 tons of air conditioning to the campus, which has reached a demand of 33,000 tons demand during peak hours.
The Carl J. Eckhardt Combined Heating and Power Complex provides 100% of the electricity, cooling and heating for the university’s main campus. This includes 5 chilling stations and a 4.3 million gallon & a 5.5-million-gallon chilled water thermal storage tanks that provides the cooling requirements for 19.6 million square feet. Connections to the City of Austin electrical grid exist only for emergency backup, providing the university independence in generating all utilities required for a campus the size of a small city.