The first known use of combined heat and power dates back to the late 1800s at Thomas Edison’s Pearl Street Station, the first central power plant in the United States. For centuries since then, this quick, cost-effective and (mostly) geographically unrestricted technology has grown to operate at efficiencies of up to 80 percent. Understandably so, these systems can seem complex. Let’s break them down.
Combined heat and power projects—also known as CHP—are defined by a few characteristics:
- the simultaneous production of electricity or mechanical power and heating or cooling energy from a single source
- distributed generation, located at or near the point of consumption
- technologies that utilize a range of fuel types to generate power at the point of use, allowing heat that would usually be lost to be recovered
Smaller CHP plants are often installed on school and hospital campuses to provide power and heating. These projects offer a range of benefits, from high production efficiency to the use of various fuels, including both fossil and renewable sources. Plus, they have the potential to offer increased reliability and flexibility for plant owners while simultaneously reducing operating costs.
B&W Energy Services is always working on CHP projects around the country, both upgrades and new builds. While they are smaller-scale, these plants often have many of the same systems as larger plants. Since they’re usually situated near noise-sensitive areas like classrooms, dorms and residential neighborhoods, the challenge often lies in ensuring our construction and pre-commissioning activities cause the least disruption possible. As with all projects, B&W gives special care and attention to well-planned execution with the right equipment to create minimal impact on the surrounding community.
We’ve had the privilege of executing CHP projects on many major campuses, including Texas A&M, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Minnesota, among others. Right now, we’re supporting the University of Florida with cleaning their steam tunnels.
When it comes to CHP projects, experience is essential—and B&W has it. Let’s be partners! Contact our team here.