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Microgrids-Using the District Heating System as the Grid to Reduce Costs 

06-28-2019 15:42

The need for increased reliability, resiliency, reducing carbon emissions, and lowering operating costs, is becoming more and more important to everyone. Finding one cost-effective solution to supporting all these initiatives would be the facilities department’s Holy Grail. Fortunately, there is one solution: using the innovative approach of developing microgrids built around using the district heating piping as the grid itself.This presentation reviews a methodology by which campus locations with a district heating loop can make use of the existing heating distribution system to serve as the actual grid, feeding individual Pressure Reducing Turbines at each building to generate electricity. With this design, the overbuild cost of electricity infrastructure is eliminated, greatly reducing the initial cost of the microgrid. In addition, by placing CHP at the site of the existing central plant, a level of redundancy is created to improve reliability. Using the underground piping as the energy distribution system, provides more resilient results than overhead or underground wiring for delivery of energy. For sustainability, centralizing energy production means that standard diesel emergency generators can be removed from individual buildings, lowering carbon emissions. A green power supply, such as solar, can supplement the generation package described and be added to the system. These components combine to design a powerful and affordable solution: a microgrid that is reliable, resilient and sustainable while markedly lower in cost to build. Continued savings can be found by eliminating energy costs of electricity and replacing them with natural gas costs that are already being incurred at the central plant for heating.A system based on the above concepts was proposed and is being developed for the city of Trenton New Jersey. A case Study associated with this location will be discussed. The design is funded through a state grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

Track 3B: Microgrids Leveraging District Energy


Joseph Martorano, Kiely Family of Companies


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Uploaded - 06-28-2019