The University has invested in two combined heat and power facilities located at the Cates and Centennial Central Utility Plants. These systems allow for the production of electricity and utilizing the waste heat to produce steam, which provides an efficiency of over 70%. Having these systems on campus improves the reliability of the electrical services, reduces impacts to the environment and provides utility savings.
The Cates facility includes two 5.5 MW combustion turbines with heat recovery steam generators. The 2013 Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions for the North and Central Campuses were reduced by 24 percent from 2010 due in part to this facility. This project was funded by utility savings from the production of on-site electricity and steam generated from the waste heat. The project also funded improvements at the Yarbrough Central Utility Plant, which had been utilizing 60 year old boilers.
The Centennial Central Utility Plant in 2017 will have one 5.5 MW combustion turbine with a heat recovery steam generator and a 0.94 MW steam turbine generator. The waste heat from the combustion turbine is utilized in the steam turbine generator during periods of low campus steam load, which increases the efficiency of this system. This type of system is called combined cycle electric power generation. The system will help provide electricity and steam for the Engineering Building – Oval and the Plant Sciences Building as well as establish part of the Smart Grid for Centennial Campus.