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Iowa State University using cogeneration as part of fuel strategy

The Iowa State University coal power plant is working to create fuel diversity by taking small steps away from coal dependence, including the use of cogeneration.

The university strives to be a leader in sustainability and has initiated changes in the diversity of energy sources and the operations of the coal power plant. In addition to university initiatives, recent federal regulations have prioritized changes in coal use with reduced emissions regulations.

Iowa State has used cogeneration, a process that uses the same fuel source twice to produce electricity and other energy, since 1891.

Each year, more than 83 per cent of steam used to produce chilled water and 98 percent of steam used to produce electricity is first produced through cogeneration.

This reduces coal burned by 15000 tons annually and saves the university $1.2m. In addition, cogeneration reduces carbon emissions by 37000 tons, or 39 per cent.

“Cogeneration is the right thing to do because it is very efficient and has been good for the university and is independent of the fuel source,” Jeff Witt, director of the ISU power plant said.

In addition to internally redesigning parts of the coal plant, the university has begun utilizing renewable energy.

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