Amherst College, MA Cogeneration Plant

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Amherst College, MA, US

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Amherst College's cogeneration system will consist of a 1250-kW gas turbine generator that burns natural gas or diesel fuel. The turbine, similar in design to a small aircraft engine, will turn an electrical generator connected to the campus electrical system and send its hot exhaust to a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG).

The HRSG can make steam directly from the hot turbine exhaust, or burn additional fuel to make more steam to satisfy campus heat loads and keep the existing boilers off-line.

A 500-kW steam turbine will also be installed as part of the project, generating electricity by taking the high-pressure steam produced by the HRSG and boilers and reducing the pressure for campus distribution. Previously, this pressure reduction was performed by valves under the old heating plant.

The cogeneration system will occupy the space reserved for a future boiler in the existing heating plant, and a small addition has been created to house the turbines.

The cogeneration system will supply approximately 50% of our peak electrical load, and 67% of the annual electricity usage. We will purchase the rest from the local utility as usual. The steam output will satisfy approximately 30% of the campus heating needs, with the existing boilers used to supply the rest.

The overall reduction in source energy will substantially reduce the campus carbon emissions. Other emissions, such as NOx and SO2 that cause smog and acid rain, will be greatly reduced because of the cogeneration system's cleaner fuels and state-of-the-art pollution controls.

The cogeneration plant is expected to produce over 11 million kWh per year, enough to power 1,000 homes. The carbon reduction will be more than 22,000 tons of CO2, approximately 20% of the College's pre-cogen greenhouse gas footprint.

Check out the background info tab to learn more about cogeneration at Amherst College.