Texas A&M Building 50MW Combined Heat and Power System

Texas A&M University has been awarded a $10 million grant by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to help fund a new combined heat and power (CHP) generation system to meet growing energy needs for the institution’s 5,200-acre campus.

The $70.25 million CHP system will be more cost effective than stand-alone power generation and heating units, leading to reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

“The new CHP system, together with other utility infrastructure improvements recently completed or in progress, will place Texas A&M in the top tier of universities, having some of the most modern, efficient, and reliable central utility production facilities in the nation,” said James G. Riley, Texas A&M’s director for utilities and energy management.

He added that the project will allow the university to provide up to 50 megawatts (MW) of reliable power generation from natural gas, while reducing overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

A separate funding request recently resulted in Texas A&M receiving another DOE award of almost $750,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ( ARRA ) to train building equipment technicians deploy energy-efficient technology.

Texas A&M’s $10 million CHP grant was made available with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act ( ARRA ) funding, administered by DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The grant to Texas A&M was one of only nine awarded in a competitive nationwide pool that attracted more than 400 funding applications, DOE officials noted.

“Projected efficiency-related cost avoidance resulting from the CHP installation will offset all debt to be incurred with the project, and more, with the DOE grant reducing the total amount that the university must finance. The new CHP system will also reduce university greenhouse gas emissions associated with energy consumption by over 30%,” Riley said.

He pointed out that this investment in CHP continues a tradition started in 1893 with Texas A&M self-generating both electrical power and steam for the institution. The central generation and distribution of chilled water to cool campus facilities was added later, with capacity of over 50,000 tons now available to cool campus buildings from four different utility plants. Riley indicated that the existing plant chiller capacity is enough to cool over 15,000 average size homes.

Last week, Dresser Waukesha received a $6.6 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a combined heat and power (CHP) generator system.

Ball State University is building the nation’s largest geothermal system to take care of its heating and cooling needs on campus.

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