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UMass Medical School, National Grid Partner for 7.5MW Cogeneration Plant

The University of Massachusetts Medical School plans a 14,000-square-foot cogeneration expansion of its existing power plant, using a $5.6 million check from National Grid – the largest incentive payment the utility has made in Massachusetts.

The project features a high-efficiency, 7.5 MW, gas-fired combustion turbine and an associated heat recovery system to increase onsite electric, steam and chiller capacity, National Grid said. The expansion will support the energy demands of the 500,000-sq.-ft. Albert Sherman Center, a research and education facility currently under construction and due for completion in December.

With the new cogeneration system in place, the medical school will increase its maximum electric output from 10 to 17.5 megawatts. The university said that it expects the added capacity will meet most of the electrical demand of the campus and provide all the steam and chilled water needed for heating and cooling.

The high-pressure steam will drive two of the plant’s existing electric generators, then heat buildings on the campus’ steam-line network and drive compressors that make chilled water for the campus’s cooling systems, National Grid said.

The new natural gas-fueled turbine replaces one of the plant’s gas and oil-fired steam boilers, which will be kept in reserve as an emergency back-up. The medical school will maintain a connection to the external utility grid for peak demand and for a backup resource, National Grid said.

Additional energy efficiency projects funded through incentives with National Grid include the installation of a more energy efficient water chiller, and new LED fixtures in the facility parking garage.

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