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Temple University Standby Electric Generating Facility 

07-02-2019 15:06

Innovation Award Submission Poster

Temple University Standby Electric Generating Facility

Temple University, Temple University Standby Electric Generating Facility

In 1992 the general focus of energy engineers was that cogeneration/combined heat and power (CHP) was a more certain return, and in fairness other area utilities did not present opportunities like the interruptible rate rider that PECO offered to its large users under regulatory pressure.

Temple’s SEGF was proposed in 1990 as an alternative to a cogeneration plant with similar construction costs and operational savings but with significantly different modes of operation. Unlike cogeneration, where the economic viability of the project depends on heat recovery and a high load factor, the SEGF has no heat recovery and is designed to run no more than 500 hours per year.

While both standby plants and cogeneration plants require high availability, cogeneration typically requires engineering systems capable of operating well over 99% of the hours in each year, year in, year out. For a cogeneration plant of the same age (26 years) therefore the equipment hour meters would now read well over 200,000 hours while Temple’s SEGF engine hour meters each still read under 2,500 hours. In addition, Temple’s plant is not particularly sensitive to natural gas prices because the electricity cost savings per hour of operation are so much higher than the fuel costs.

The penalties for unplanned outages are severe in either case – one of the issues discussed at Temple was that missing a single interruptible event would negate the cost savings over an entire year and could also cause the facility to become ineligible to participate in the interruptible rate for a period of time. Fortunately however, the standby electric generating facility did not miss any interruptible events.

In summary, the novel aspects, especially in 1992, were creating a quiet, flexible plant with a high electrical output (per dollar of investment), black start capabilities, island mode, parallel mode and no heat recovery, all fueled on natural gas.


Andrew Holden, Temple University


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