A US combined heat and power (CHP) plant has won the 2017 Industry Excellence Award from utility trade group the Southeastern Electric Exchange (SEE).

The award is given for projects that show innovation, improvements and technical complexity. 

The 20 MW gas-fired Eight Flags Energy CHP plant, operated by Florida Public Utilities Company (FPU), came online last year as part of an upgrade. It now supplies around 50 per cent of the power for Florida’s Amelia Island, which has only one grid line, as well as 100 per cent of the power, hot water and process steam used by advanced materials manufacturing firm Rayonier’s Fernandina Beach facility on the island.

C A MacDonald, the plant’s general manager, said last year that the upgrade was undertaken because an existing plant had been running at close to its steam limits, and that Rayonier’s need for steam had been rising due to recent expansion.  

The new plant addresses the steam demand while allowing the company to take a boiler down for maintenance by switching the heat recovery steam generator (HRSG) from supplying power to a steam turbine to providing steam to the factory. In the past, boiler maintenance had meant a reduction in steam output and a resulting drop in production. 

The plant’s Titan 250 gas turbine was supplied by Solar Turbines, and its HRSG by Rentech.

Scott Smith, SEE director, said the plant “provides on-Island generation, which results in less dependence on purchased power and increases reliability for FPU’s customers while lowering costs.”  

And Jeffry Householder, FPU’s president, said the plant is “one of the most energy-efficient cogeneration power plants in the US, with a target efficiency of 78 per cent”.

See our feature article on the plant here