The International District energy Association (IDEA) has welcomed the inauguration of Thermal Energy Corporation’s (TECO) new CHP plant that serves institutions at the Texas Medical Center, in Houston, Texas, US. The new 48 MW CHP plant enables TECO – an IDEA member – to meet the heating and cooling needs of its mission-critical customers without tapping the electricity grid.
‘On 23 August, demand on the Texas electric grid hit nearly 66 GW, an all-time record,’ says TECO President and CEO Stephen K Swinson. ‘The result was that electricity prices soared to approximately $2,200 per MWh, compared to the $50 per MWh average. The good news is that during that period of peak demand, TECO didn’t have to buy any power from the grid. So we avoided the extreme price peaks – all because our new CHP plant is now on line.’
Burns & McDonnell, which provided design-build services for the project, and GE Power & Water, which supplied the CHP plant’s LM6000 PD Sprint gas turbine, also are IDEA members.
Electricity and waste heat from TECO’s new plant will be used to produce steam and chilled water, which will be piped underground through TECO’s district cooling and heating network to customer buildings for air conditioning, space heating, dehumidification, sterilization, kitchen and laundry processes, and domestic hot water use. The CHP plant will operate at 80% efficiency, cutting carbon dioxide emissions by more than 305,000 tons per year.
‘TECO’s new CHP plant demonstrates the immediate potential that CHP holds, not just for the Texas Medical Center, but for the rest of the nation,’ says Robert Thornton, president and CEO of the International District Energy Association. ‘Clearly, the $10 million that the US Department of Energy allocated to TECO’s $370 million district energy/CHP project was an excellent investment, helping to generate more than 400 jobs in the process.’
US wastewater site to use biogas fuel cell CHP
FuelCell Energy (FCE) has announced the sale of two 300 kW DFC300 fuel cell power plants to the Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) in southern California, for installation at the Perris Valley Regional Water Reclamation Facility in Riverside County, California. The units will be fuelled by renewable biogas and the plants are expected to be operational by mid 2011.
The fuel cell power plants will utilize methane, produced at the plant in an anaerobic digester, as fuel for the electrochemical reaction within the fuel cell that generates electricity efficiently and cleanly.
Efficiency will be enhanced by supplying the by-product heat from the fuel cell to the anaerobic digester, supplementing a gas-fired boiler. The efficiency of fuel cells can exceed 80% when by-product heat is being utilized, says FCE.
The power plant will help the EMWD meet the stringent emission regulations issued by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), which is the air pollution control agency with local jurisdiction. SCAQMD reports that its region, including Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, is the smoggiest region of the United States.
Biomass CHP plant fuels pellet production
RWE Innogy and German Pellets have inaugurated RWE's biomass-fuelled cogeneration station and an adjacent pellet plant at Wittgenstein industrial estate in North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany.
The biomass-fuelled cogeneration station has fed electricity into the grid since early 2010, and, since the start of pellet production, both plants have been operating in combination. In this mode, the cogeneration station supplies the heat required for the production of the pellets. The CHP station has a thermal capacity of 30 MW and an electrical output of 5 MW.
The combined production of heat and power results in a relatively high energy efficiency of up to 70%. The pellet plant has a production capacity of 120,000 tonnes of quality pellets per year. Approximately 220,000 tonnes of round wood residuals and sawmill wood leftovers from the region are used as feedstock.
Biogas engine powers Ukrainian milk company’s baby milk plant
Powered by manure from 4,000 cows and a GE Jenbacher gas engine, the first biogas cogeneration plant in the Ukraine has completed nine months of successful operation at the Ukrainian Milk Company, located near Kiev.
The excess power produced at the plant is being sold to the grid. The Ukrainian Milk Company, which produces milk for baby nutrition products, received the licence for selling power to the grid based on the ‘green’ tariff, which is in the process of being approved by Ukraine authorities.
The CHP plant is powered by a GE JMC 312 containerized cogeneration model gas engine and is able to substitute the equivalent of 1.2 million m3 of natural gas annually.
The installation is projected to prevent the emission of 18,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the same period. Once converted into biogas, the manure from the cows produces 625 kW of electricity and 686 kW of heat energy.
Tognum to supply CHP units to French car makers
The Tognum Group has won two orders for the supply of gas engine-based CHP plants to industrial customers in France. Car manufacturers Peugeot and Smart are to use the CHP plants in their factories in Mülhausen and Hambach in the French region of Alsace.
The orders cover a total of nine cogeneration power plants carrying the Tognum brand MTU Onsite Energy and were placed by SDMO, the French power plant manufacturer based in Brest.
The gensets, which will be built at Tognum’s site in Augsburg, each consist of an MTU gas engine Type 16V 4000 L62, a generator, and a control system. The CHP plant destined for the Peugeot factory in Mülhausen will be capable of generating more than 12 MW of thermal and up to 11 MW of electrical power. The plant for the Smart factory in Hambach will provide over 3 MW of thermal and 3 MW of electrical power.
The orders count among the largest ever received in the 32-year history of the Tognum production site. The supply scope also includes maintenance services such as the provision of spare parts and on-call technical support for the user. The total order volume is worth over €2.5 million ($3.2 million).
Shale gas to fuel on-site plant for Canadian gas processor
Wärtsilä has been awarded the contract to supply the power generating equipment and associated engineering for the Cabin Gas Plant Power Generation Project in British Columbia, in Canada.
The firm will supply three Wärtsilä 20V34SG gas engine generator sets running on natural gas, producing a combined output of over 26 MW.
The plant will provide electricity to a natural gas processing plant producing pipeline quality gas from shale formations in the Horn River Basin, one of the most prolific shale gas deposits in North America. The power plant will run on the natural gas processed by this natural gas processing plant.
There currently is no electrical grid to provide electricity in this area of British Columbia, which makes on-site generation a necessity.
Wärtsilä says its technology provides high reliability because of the multiple units and its proven technology. Other benefits include the excellent heat rate and lack of process water consumption.
Turbine CHP installation under way at New Jersey hospital
Work is underway on the NRG Energy Center Princeton, which will provide heating, cooling and electricity to the new University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro, New Jersey, in the United States.
The 237-single patient room, acute care hospital is under construction and is expected to open at the end of 2011.
To be based on a gas turbine, the CHP system includes the production of steam for heating and chilled water for air conditioning, achieved by a thermal energy storage system. The centre will also include solar power generation and energy-saving ‘smart’ meters.
Recent work has included installing two of the chillers, main electrical equipment, and the chilled water piping inside the energy centre, and installing the outside cooling tower.
Work is currently continuing at a rapid pace in order to get the first chiller operational during September so that the project can keep on track with the hospital’s overall construction schedule.
Biogas fuel cell CHP for poultry ranch in California
FuelCell Energy has announced the sale of a 1.4 MW DFC1500 fuel cell power plant to G3 Power Systems for installation at the Olivera Egg Ranch, a poultry ranch located in French Camp, California, US.
The fuel cell system will utilize renewable biogas for fuel, converting what is currently a waste problem for Olivera Egg Ranch into electricity and heat. FuelCell Energy will service the power plant under a five year service agreement.
The power generated by the fuel cell power plant will be adequate to meet approximately all of the power needs of the Olivera Egg Ranch facilities. The by-product heat from the fuel cell energy conversion process will be directed to the anaerobic digester to help produce biogas. The power plant is expected to be operational by mid 2011.
Fuel cell CHP units for leading US Navy submarine base
The US Naval Submarine Base New London, located in Groton, Connecticut, in the United States, is to have two 300 kW DFC300 fuel cell power plants from FuelCell Energy installed to provide reliable base-load electricity and heat energy to the base.
The two fuel cell power plants will be installed adjacent to the existing energy plant on the base, which is the United States Navy’s primary submarine base and sometimes referred to as ‘the submarine capital of the world’.
The by-product heat from the fuel cell energy conversion process will be utilized for pre-heating water used in the boiler at the existing plant, therefore reducing fuel costs.
FuelCell Energy’s partner, LOGANEnergy, will purchase, install and operate the fuel cell power plants, subcontracting maintenance services to FuelCell Energy under a three year service contract.
The efficiency of fuel cells is almost 80% when the by-product heat from the energy conversion process is utilized.
Cool Energy Carries Out Field Tests For Solar CHP System
US-based developer of clean heat and power generating systems Cool Energy has announced that Minneapolis-based utility Xcel Energy will be providing research and analytical support for the first planned pilot field installation of the Stirling engine-based ‘SolarFlow’ solar-CHP system.
The installation is to take place in a commercial building located in the city of Boulder in Colorado.
The SolarFlow CHP generation system uses solar energy as its only input ‘fuel’ and is sized for residential and small commercial buildings. The system’s novel features include energy storage and a control system that maximizes customer value by apportioning the system’s energy output between heat and electricity depending on the season and weather conditions (both current and forecasted).
Central to the system is Cool Energy’s low-temperature ‘SolarHeart’ engine, a specialized Stirling engine-powered electricity generator that the system activates whenever the electricity produced is more valuable than the heat consumed.
Nuon to build gas-fired CHP plant and heat pipe
Europe’s Nuon, part of the Vattenfall Group, has decided to invest in a new gas fired power plant to be built at the company’s existing site in Diemen, The Netherlands. The company will also lay a heat transportation pipeline from Diemen to Almere so that the residual heat can be used to heat homes. Combining the highest feasible output of the gas-fired plant with large-scale supplying of heat to Amsterdam and Almere will enable an overall efficiency of 85% to be achieved.
The new plant will more than double Nuon’s electricity and heat-generating capacity in Diemen and, via the pipeline, help meet the growing demand for heat in Almere.
The new CHP plant will be built alongside the existing plant in Diemen. It is to be built by Siemens and is designed to achieve the highest possible efficiency. With electricity generating capacity of 435 MW and heat generation capacity of 260MW, the new plant will be able to supply some 750,000 households with electricity.
Global micro-CHP capacity rises despite a slide in sales
Sales of micro-CHP devices fell to 21,000 units in 2009, but in terms of power generation capacity the market grew to 38 MWe. The 2009 market was worth some €270 million ($340 million) – according to the annual review of the micro-CHP market published by Delta Energy & Environment.
The Ecowill unit from Honda
Japan is still the only market where products suitable for single family homes are widely available, although a product has now been launched in the northeast of the US. In Europe, activity focused on 5 kWe products, suited to small businesses and multi-family homes.
Sales of the Honda internal combustion engine-based Ecowill shrank in Japan with the downturn and growth in all-electric homes. But the Honda engine is at the heart of the FreeWatt unit now available in the US, and a system being trialled by Vaillant in Europe for launch in 2011.
Meanwhile, says Delta, the commercial launch of proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell micro-CHP systems took place in Japan – over 5,200 systems were sold, also reducing Honda’s Ecowill sales.
Despite a fall in Honda’s sales in Japan, global micro-CHP capacity and market value both grew, largely due to an excellent year for larger 5 kWe internal combustion engine systems from SenerTec (owned by Baxi) and PowerPlus Technologies (owned by Vaillant) in Germany.
Residential-scale micro-CHP in Europe has finally become a commercial reality in 2010, led by Stirling engines from BDR Thermea (the new company formed by the merger of Remeha and Baxi) and the Efficient Home Energy (a joint venture between Whisper Tech and Mondragon).
Japan will continue to lead on fuel cell micro-CHP sales and development, says Delta, while Hexis and Baxi are at the forefront in Europe, each trialling tens of systems, nearly all in Germany.
Delta’s Micro-CHP Annual Roundup 2009 and Outlook Report is available for subscribers at www.delta-ee.com.
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