“Construction is will soon begin on a $96 million combined heat and power (CHP) plant in another aging facility near the river’s edge that will dramatically cut the campus’ carbon footprint while driving down the cost of energy”
>” […] The project, in the 1912-vintage Old Main Utility Building, will produce enough steam to heat the entire campus and meet about half of its electricity demand.
CHP and carbon reductions
CHP will be a major tactic in the goal of reducing the University’s carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2020, said Shane Stennes, who serves as the University Services’ sustainability coordinator. The Southeast Steam Plant, itself a CHP facility, mainly used natural gas but still had a small measure of coal in its fuel mix, along with oat hulls.
“The carbon reduction is partly due to a change in fuel but mostly a result of increased efficiency,” Stennes said. The ability to use the waste heat from the electricity generation process is the real reason the University will see carbon emissions plummet, he added.
“From the sustainability point of view this plant is the right thing to do,” he said, noting that in 2008 the University’s campus system agreed to a net zero scenario in the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
CHP is on a bit of a roll. President Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2012 promoting wider adoption of CHP and the state Department of Commerce recently held stakeholders’ meetings on the issue to determine how the state might help in moving forward projects.
The potential was described in a Commerce policy brief associated with the stakeholder meetings: “Power generation waste heat in Minnesota is nearly equal to the total requirement for heat energy in buildings and industry.” […]
Minnesota has at latest count 55 CHP systems in the state, according to the ICF International.
Reasons for CHP at the U
A campus CHP comes with another advantage by creating an “island” of energy independence should a regional blackout hit. Many major Midwest and coastal universities have CHP in part to rely less on power grids that are vulnerable to major storms or other weather maladies, he said.
“We see CHP as a way to be competitive with other schools and to protect research if we had a catastrophe,” he said.
The need for more boilers, said Malmquist, stems from growing demand for power. Although the nearly dozen new buildings constructed in the last few years meet rigorous energy efficiency standards they tend to demand more power due to their function as research centers.
The Biomedical Discovery District, a new physics laboratory, technology classroom and other science-related buildings, as well as a new residence hall, have added square footage for steam and electricity, he said.
“The buildings we’re putting up today are more energy intensive than the ones we’ve been taking down,” said Malmquist. […]”<