The University of British Columbia is adding an on-site biomass-fueled combined heat and power (CHP) energy station at its campus.
The CHP generator serves a dual purpose – to provide renewable energy and heat for campus buildings and to serve as a platform for bioenergy research, according to a press release.
The CHP system should be able to provide net efficiencies of 65 percent in cogeneration mode. The system will feature a GE high efficiency Jenbacher gas engine. The project is being handled by Nexterra and GE Power & Water’s gas engine division.
The system will produce 2 megawatts of electricity that will offset UBC’s existing power consumption.
The system will also generate enough steam to displace up to 12 percent of the natural gas that UBC uses for campus heating, essentially reducing greenhouse gas emissions by up to 4,500 tons a year.
The building housing the CHP system will be made of an innovative new building material, cross-laminate timber, a new solid wood building material that can be used as a low carbon, renewable alternative to steel frame construction.
This will be one of the first such buildings in North America.
Cornell University was able to cut its coal power generation in half recently when its new natural-gas combined heat and power plant entered operation. The 30-megawatt addition is part of the university’s bid to become coal-free as early as the summer of 2011.