Duke Energy is set to build a 21 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant on the campus of Duke University in the US state of North Carolina.

The power and gas company and the university, which are not otherwise associated despite the name, announced their partnership on the $55 million project this week.

Duke Energy will build, own and operate the CHP plant, which is expected to produce around 75,000 pounds of steam per hour for water heating at the university’s medical centre and other campus buildings. Power from the plant will supply both the university and the surrounding community, Duke Energy said.

In addition, the firm said the CHP system could be used to isolate the critical loads on campus, increasing reliability for hospitals and clinics in case of a grid outage.

Once installed, the plant is expected to reduce the university’s carbon emissions by 25%.

‘This partnership will provide value for Duke University and will accelerate our progress towards climate neutrality,’ said Duke University’s executive vice president Tallman Trask.  ‘By combining steam and electricity generation systems, we can increase efficiency and reduce our overall consumption by millions of units of energy each year, and have a positive effect on the community at large.’