Local Power Empowers: CHP and District Energy (Text Version)

Hi. This is Brian Olsen. I'm with the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance and I'd like to welcome to this DOE technical assistance program presentation. Today we're going to talk about the combined heat and power and district energy possibilities for your local organization. What we're gonna do here is we're gonna do a little technical assistance program overview then we're gonna define CHPs. We're also gonna define district cooling and heating. We're then going to look at some of the technologies available in the combined heat and power and market applications. We'll also take a look at CHP installation status, the CHP industry outlook and also give you a brief overview of - oh, shoot.

I - for those of you still - my screen is having problems staying connected. I will be back on in about five seconds. For some reason my Internet keeps going down. So please be patient. Should be back up in about 10, 15 seconds here. Anyway to be - a quick definition of the technical assistance program. This is an effort through DOE to reach out to Recovery Act awardees to give them opportunities to get more information on how their Recovery Act money can be used effectively and also to make sure that the abilities of the Recovery Act are being utilized properly. So the past program is very successful in the past in getting information out to grantees. Leslie, if you can hear me can I get my screen back or do I need to call back in?

Uh, hang on. You'll have it in just a second here.

Okay. Sorry about that.

You should be good to go

Okay. I apologize to everybody on the call. This is having a real big problem keeping my Internet connection here. I believe I do have to call back in now because the audio is no longer connected - to the site. So give me just a second.



Are you okay?


Yeah. Okay. I - I think I'm back now. Am I showing up as the presenter?

You're fine. Yes. Go ahead. You're ____.

Okay. Okay. Anyway. Sorry about that. Okay. The technical assistance project program is supporting block grants, state energy program, and buildings, providing state and local activities to clean energy and industrial and commercial energy efficiency efforts. I'd also like to ask for those of you who are called in if you could put your phones on mute since we're gonna have to take a round about approach as far as so that there's no background noise during the presentation.

The technical assistance program offers one-on-one assistance, extensive online resources including webinars like this one. There's an events calendar. There's a blog. Best practices and projects resources as well as pure exchange program, which is available through the Department of Energy as well as Oak Ridge National Laboratories and other entities funded by the Department of Energy. Some of the topics include local capacity building, energy efficiency with Noble Energy Technologies, program design and implementation, financing, and finally performance contracting.

In terms of the types of things that are available to our grantees we have training, workshops, peer-to-peer matching. For technical assistance with Noble Energy siteing and development there are reviews on technical specifications for requests for proposals, green building codes, green building technologies, and as you can see there's a whole slew of other activities that are available to you as part of the provider network. Team Four is the organization that is sponsoring this event here. Vermont Energy Investment Corporation is the lead organization for this particular presentation, but as you can see there are other organizations around the country, which help to provide this service. My organization is the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance located in Chicago.

In terms of clean energy technologies that are available now I mentioned the word CHP, combined heat and power. There is also waste heat recovery and then district energies. I will go into each one of those in a little bit more detail now. The combined heat and power is a form of distributor generation. It's an integrated system located at or near a building or facility or group of facilities. It provides at least a portion of the electrical load and recycles thermal energy so that it becomes probably the most efficient system for a facility or activity to be performed on site.

In a traditional power system you have a power plant and a boiler and those are done remotely and then electricity is used and transmitted to the facility. However, in a CHP system you can take advantage of the heat that's generated from that generation of electricity and use that heat to do other things. If you'll notice there's about a 45 percent efficiency in a traditional system. CHP systems have upwards of 80 percent efficiency in terms of total energy used in the process.

As far as emissions benefits, obviously in a traditional system you're emitting approximately 49 kilotons per year in a system of this particular size. CHP system only emits around 23 kilotons per year. So less than half of the emissions of a typical power plant boiler configuration.

What are the components of the CHP system? You've got a fuel - could be propane, natural gas, bio gas, landfill, coal, anything like that - waste product. You have a prime mover, which is what converts the fuel into a utilizable resource. That could be a reciprocating engine, a combustion turbine, microturbine, steam turbine, or fuel cell. That is then sent to a generator, which is then used to create electricity and onsite and then sold - and if there's excess you can sell that to utility where there is that opportunity. We're still working on that in some areas of the country.

Also, the heat that's generated in the prime mover process it can be run through a heat exchanger and then run and used for thermal recovery to be produced as steam, hot water, space heating, process heating, cooling, process cooling, or dehumidification. These - you look at those two. The two combined increase the efficiency by nearly twice as much. Also in waste heat recovery and combined heat and power you have the bottoming cycle whereby the exhaust gases from the plant process are used as free heat and then also are used to run the heat exchanger as I described in the previous example. So there's even more opportunity for heat recovery and efficiency.

District cooling is a process by which a large number of buildings, or at least a large facility has an external process area where heat and cooling systems are generated, usually during off hours and at non-peak levels. And then the system is supplied during the working hours at a - so when there's a lower demand the processes are occurring and then the results of that process are utilized that are possibly during high-demand times during the day or in some cases at night. District cooling can - or district energy, excuse me, consists of underground networks of pipe, which combine heating and cooling requirements. One of the advantages of district energy is that it creates a market for thermal energy among buildings in a larger metropolitan area and it can aggregate thermal loads to create scale to apply fuels and technologies, which may not be feasible on a single building basis. Fuel flexibility, obviously, improved energy security, and it's good for local economies.

In terms of infrastructure for local clean energy, we like to connect thermal energy sources with users that may not have the access to them normally. You have an urban infrastructure. In some situations it can raise the value of the properties within the grid that's being - where the district energy is being used. Energy dollars can re-circulate in a local economy and then there's also the job creation in some of the areas for construction and other activities that would be associated with the maintenance of the district cooling and heating system. In terms of impacts on the end-user and consumer for district cooling, customer capital costs are reduced or amortized over long-term service agreements - i.e., that would be like an energy service company agreement. There's reduced need for mechanical rooms and other areas of activity.

Typically you have in a system where you have a building that uses its own heating and cooling. There will be a much larger area occupied in that building for those processors. This allows you to have a much more streamlined system, much like for those of you who have computers. Some of you are now using just these little boxes, which are connected to a network. There's a lot let space associated with those Internet boxes than Cloud computing as it were than it would be necessarily for you to have a stand-alone PC at your desk. Obviously this translates into lower operating maintenance costs and more leasable space.

In terms of CHP we talked a little bit about reciprocating engines, gas turbines, microturbines being the prime movers. The heat recovery associated with those processes can be hot water, steam, and even direct exhaust gases. Thermal systems, which would utilize that heat would be things such as absorption chillers, hot water heating loops, steam turbines, or desiccants, which would use the dry air that's being used in processes as well as you could also have generators, which are synchronous, induction, or inverted to create more electricity.

If you look at the sizes necessary for the kilowatts is that we're talking about in terms of a particular type of process, obviously gas turbines would be the largest. Lean burn engines would be the second largest. Rich burn engines would be the third largest. Fuel cells and microturbines would be down near the lower end - more compact. The reason for this is obviously the gas turbines are what are used currently in most power plants. Lean burn engines can be utilized in areas where you don't need quite as much horse power but you are able to certainly go in a larger range and in a - an area where you have a good fuel supply that's a high-end BTU value.

Gas combustion turbines, similar to jet engines in terms of streams of inlet air, which is compressed. Heat is then added in a high pressure outlet stream turns the reaction turbine at a high speed, which then strives the generator and is used for much, much larger applications than say a microturbine would be. Also it should be noted that the gas turbines are very, very good when high pressure steam is required such in hospitals or other systems like that. Reciprocating engines are similar to gas fueled engines like an auto cycle. This one's a little more technical than probably should be addressed here. But diesel is also a possibility. Good for combining heat and power. Greater than five megawatts. Good for hot water and low pressure steam applications. So maybe some facilities such as companies that manufacture, I guess like a steel mill or something like that would be good there.

Fuel cell systems, obviously they're like batteries. They're very, very good for base load only but they're also the most expensive. However, they can be the most efficient of the CHP systems that are out there. Microturbines, obviously are the smallest of the - of systems that we talked about. Very, very good for hot water and probably the most reasonably priced systems for companies that are looking to get into CHP but not have a lot of capital invested in them. In terms of steam turbines we have - this is still one of the oldest ones but still being used. They extract heat from steam and transform it into mechanical work by expanding the steam from high pressure to low pressure, similar to what your refrigerator would do but opposite that. Would go from less than - a greater than one megawatt to greater than - less than 500 megawatts. There's two types of steam. Turbines condensing backpressure, maybe a little too technical for this call to get into these much detail there. But these are the options for the types of prime movers if you were looking at doing a CHP installation in your residential or, excuse me, not residential but commercial or municipality.

We just review here real quickly. The size ranges. We have everything from reciprocating internal combustion engines all the way down to steam turbines based upon your need for either high or low pressure steam or maybe, if necessary, for a combination of those. And depending on the size of your need this chart outlines very well what would be the most appropriate for your application. I - if any of you have submitted questions I will be getting to those at the end of this but I did want to let you know that we will get your questions as soon as the presentation is complete.

In terms of heat recovery, heat recovery is probably one of the most important factors in determining whether CHP is right for you. If there's a lot of heat that can be recovered and utilized internally based upon the system that you have, you would definitely want to look into the CHP. The best opportunities to use CHP is where the heat can be almost directly utilized rather than having to be converted into another form such as electricity or being - running a chiller. So if you have an opportunity where hot air, hot gas can be used to directly convert a media to a high temperature media that can be utilized in your process, CHP is definitely gonna be an attractive option for you.

To get a little bit more technical, absorption chillers use waste heat to generate chilled water for air conditioning. It sounds counterintuitive but if you have a lot of high temperature air or water, something out of a process you can actually utilize that to create a chilled system 'cause you do have a large amount of potential energy, which can be harnessed and used for another process and even converted to - either could be used in a cooling system during a summer or in a heating system during the winter. Desiccant dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air. They're very, very good for ____ processes, which convert air either hot or cold when you have expansion and compression of air that you're using for say an absorption chiller or other activity. You want to keep the moisture out of that air whenever possible. Desiccant humidifiers would be one of those necessary tools to accomplish that process.

Normal CHP electrical configurations are usually installed parallel with the electrical grid. In most systems they do not completely supplant the energy, which is being generated by your utility but rather they are used in conjunction with. And when in times of need the CHP can provide electricity back to the grid if that's legal or allowable in your area of the country. Or you can simply utilize that and store it if you have onsite batteries or some other storage mechanism for future utilization of that energy.

In terms of generators all you really need to know here is that induction generators require external power source to operate. In other words if you had a system that you wanted to be completely free of the grid you would not use an induction system. If you had a synchronous system you could go off the grid but it's just the difference between those two. Induction grids obviously are preferred by utilities because then you would not be completely dependent - completely independent of them and synchronous ones are preferred by CHP customers. So this is just terminology for you to look at when you - as you go down the road and do feasibility studies whether CHP is right for you.

In terms of total CHP installations as of 2009 there were 84,570 megawatts installed at 3,500 sites around the country. The average capacity was 24.2 megawatts. Median capacity was 1.2 megawatts representing almost eight percent of the U.S. total generation capacity. What's interesting here is it saved over three quads of fuel every year and eliminated over 400 million tons of CO2 emissions each year. So obviously CHP can be an environmentally friendly technology when used properly and obviously a little bit more efficient than your - your standalone power plants with distribution.

In terms of, like, market by type of prime mover we talked about reciprocating engines. Those are the most frequently utilized. Next would be the boiler and steam turbines. Third would be combustion turbines, then combined cycles, and then all others coming in around 17 percent. It should be noted that almost 50 percent of all CHP installations do use reciprocating engines at the current time. In terms of, like, system type there's 84.4 gigawatts of generating capacity. Combined cycle systems are those that use a boiler combined with a heat and recovery steam generator. There's 53 percent of those combustion turbines account for 13 percent. And then 32 percent cover just strictly boilers and steam turbines. In terms of CHP market by fuel types, we have 69 percent of - use the natural gas and then all others are - kind of pale in comparisons.

Obviously natural gas is the desired fuel but others argues - am - can be even more beneficial, depending on the area of the country that you're in and what might be waste ___ stocks in your area or as a byproduct of other processes maybe in your - maybe you have like a water treatment plant or something like that where you can have - file mesh that you can utilize there. Again, capacity by fuel types, 73 percent is natural gas and most file math and other file-based systems are coming way behind that. The potential for additional CHP? Very, very big. Obviously in places like Texas, California, Louisiana, New York - tremendous opportunities. Mostly because of the proximity of a lot of buildings to each other but also large industrial manufacturers, which would utilize a lot of the exit steam in an almost pure form rather than having to convert it. But as you can see there's a lot of opportunity, especially in the Midwest, Northeast, and Southeast.

Why does CHP make sense in certain places or actually where does it make sense? Industry - we have metallurgical, chemical, cement chips, some ethanol, pulp and paper food processing. Common thread here is that these facilities have the ability to use steam in an almost pure form. Obviously in commercial areas we have hotels, office buildings, fitness center, data centers, restaurants, supermarkets. Institutional we're looking at hospitals, colleges, universities, and high schools. District energy is really, really good for campuses, business parks. Any area where there's a large congregation of activity, which can use fairly similar energy sources and have a use for either excess steam or the by-products of a combined heat and power system.

It should be interesting to note the barriers to implementation of CHP. Technology is not necessarily the issue. Obviously it should be supplied from now on that financing is an issue.

But also it should be interesting to note that policy is a big problem. Usually electric utilities put up a fair amount of resistance because they obviously will be losing a little bit of their demand and that's obviously not gonna be a happy situation for any of them. However, they are slowly learning that either they help us or we won't be going to them and using our own ways of generating electricity. So they're coming around and there's a lot of legislation going in the direction of CHP as a positive benefit to keeping jobs available within certain areas of the country that may not - that may run the risk of companies being shut down due to high energy prices, et cetera.

Also if you - it should noticed, unable energy prices are always an issue. However, it's been noted that a lot of the CHP systems that utilize natural gas sometimes can be a little bit less in danger recently, although nobody knows what the future will load in terms of fuel prices. But natural gas seems to be - seems to have stabilized in the last of couple years and it's uncertain what the prices will be in the future. Also there's - there's a lack of adequate end-user demand mostly due to education or lack thereof and the frustration in, like, exactly how the process works then - what needs to be done with your local resources in order for you to be able to utilized CHP.

So I wanted to put a shout out here real quickly to the U.S. Midwest - U.S. DOE Midwest Clean Energy Application Center. It was originally established by 2008 to support the CHP challenge. Today they now work on CHP, district energy, waste heat recovery. Their strategy is to provide policy, utility, targeted education, unbiased information, and technical assistance. This is only the Midwest CHP Center. But as you'll see on this next slide there are DOE clean energy application centers all over the country. And this slide as well as the entire presentation will be available to you after the presentation will be uploaded to the website. It's a little bit too large for me to send in its current format so I will be converting to a .pdf file for use by Oak Ridge National Lab and - and the TAP, technical assistance program group.

In terms of accessing past resources we invite you to visit the solutions center, which is online. The website is I think like you're just going to just go to the doe.energy.gov/wit/solutioncenter. Or just Google solution center when you are in the DOE website. You can also submit technical assistance requests at TAC - excuse me - this is a secure website so it's httpf://tac.eecleanenergy.org. And finally there's a phone number here, 877-337-3827. You can just e-mail the solution center at solutioncenter@ee.doe.gov. Upcoming webcasts include the one that we have today, obviously that one already done. But there will be several others coming up in November and December. Please feel free to visit the website for additional webcasts that may be available coming up in your area on the Internet.

My name is Brian Olsen. This is my contact information. And then also these are the contacts for all the people at the local organizations, which do the technical assistance program on a local basis. In terms of questions, Leslie are you back?

I'm here.

Okay. Did we have any questions?

Did you look down on your _____ - ?

Oh, just the one about the slideshow being available. Yes, the slideshow will be available after the webinar. I will convert it to a .pdf file and send it directly to Leslie for you - for any of you to take advantage of. Do we have any other questions? Okay. Well, I guess is there anything else you wanted to say, Leslie?

No, I don't think that there's anything I need to add if you are good to go then I guess we can wrap up the presentation. There is another question I believe. There is another question.


If you look on your questions there's another one.

Yeah. How do you expand this? For some reason it's not expanding.

The other question is - I'll read it. Could you explain more about why?

Okay. Why certain states in the U.S. - okay. The question was why are certain states in the U.S. more feasible for CHP technologies than others? It's not just a why certain states but it's also why certain areas. And by that I mean if you are in an area of the country - say like in the North. Like the Northeast where you've got very cold winters. You obviously for the ability for your company to utilize the by-products of combined heat and power one of which is steam, that could be used directly for heating the facilities instead of having to be converted into some other type of energy source. Also in certain areas of the country there may be an additional expense for the energy that is used. In other words, the price of natural gas may be higher than in other areas of the country. That may or may not play into being able to have CHP be beneficial to you.

In an area where you have a very, very low cost of electricity, CHP may not be a feasible option for you if your local utility has very low electricity cost and your not able to utilize as much of the cost-benefit ratio of taking that - the by-product of the CHP and converting them to keep your energy costs being lower than what would be from your local utility. So I hope that answers your question. But, again, if anybody has any additional issues please feel free to let me know. My information is in the presentation. Oh, few more questions just came in here.

What is the best CHP application for schools? Well, depending on the size of the school if it's a fairly small school, you may be able to get away with a microturbine. If it's a larger school you may look at a more - maybe even a reciprocating generation facility. But more than likely, depending on the size of these systems it really dictates based upon the energy load of the school and potentially the proximity of the school to other facilities which could take advantage of the system.

Another question. Have I heard of tri-generation? I'd have to learn a little bit more, Robert Welch, could you give me a little bit more information? I've heard that term but â€"

[Break in audio]

Hello? Sorry about that. I got disconnected. In terms of how do you compare CHP with solar district power plants? This is a very good question. In terms of solar powered generations there is usually quite a bit more, at least to my knowledge and my experience, solar power facilities per unit of - per kilowatt tend to be a lot more expensive at least in a capital basis because of the inefficiency of the conversion of solar energy to electricity, or even if it's a passive solar system to the heated water.

So I would say CHP is probably a lot more feasible in most areas of the country, strictly based upon amount of sunlight but also based upon the capital costs associated with per unit kilowatt that is available to be utilized by the company. I will have an answer for all of you on tri-generation. Robert mentioned that he has heard about it but he wasn't sure how it works. I will certainly get with the Midwest Regional Application Center and get a little bit more information about that and get it to all of you. Other questions? That looks like that's about it. So if anybody has any additional questions, please feel free to respond to me directly and, again, I apologize for all the technical problems we've had here. It's - Comcast is not my best friend right now. So, Leslie, do you have anything else you want to mention?

No, I'm good to go if you're good to go.

Okay. I guess that's it then. Thanks everybody for participating and make sure you go to the website to learn a little bit more about technical assistance program and how it can help your Recovery Act projects. Thanks again. Anything else, Leslie do we have - we can just wrap up.

Okay. I'll go ahead and close out of the webinar. You can close out for yourself and I'll take care of the rest. Okay. Sounds great and thanks for your help. Sorry about all the technical difficulties I had on my end.

That's okay. I hope that we can get 'em fixed for the next one.

Oh, absolutely. Yeah. As a matter of fact I'm gonna give 'em a call right now. I will go ahead and convert this to .pdf and send it to you today.

Okay. That sounds good. Thank you.

All right?