The US Department of Energy selected seven projects to receive as much as $10 million for researching and developing technologies enabling small-to-midsize manufacturers to use combined heat and power systems.
CHP, also known as cogeneration, produces electricity and thermal energy onsite. It can provide facility owners with more efficient and lower-cost electricity in addition to helping reduce strain on existing grid infrastructure, according to the DOE.
These systems are becoming increasingly popular for hospitals, military bases, colleges and universities, and other organizations where reliable power is crucial.
“Today, CHP is widely used in large industrial facilities where they have the manpower and expertise to support cost-effective installation and operation of large CHP systems,” the DOE’s announcement said. “However, small-to-midsize facilities could also benefit from flexible and cost-effective CHP.”
In order to enable the private sector development of flexible CHP systems for small-to-midsize manufacturers’ facilities, the DOE is funding several projects across the country. These projects will focus on power electronics and control systems, and electricity generation components. They include:
Clemson University in Clemson, SC. To develop a power conditioning system converter and a corresponding control system for flexible CHP systems.
ElectraTherm, Inc. in Flowery Branch, GA. To develop a high temperature Organic Rankine Cycle generation unit to provide additional power when needed by the grid, while also maintaining useful thermal energy for use in CHP applications.
GE Global Research in Niskayuna, NY. To develop a set of full-size grid-interface converter system and control solutions to interconnect small-to-midsize CHP engines to the low-voltage to medium-voltage utility grid.
Siemens Corporation in Princeton, NY. To develop an improved CHP system by demonstrating key novel components with computer simulations of standard technologies. The project will use a supercritical CO2 bottoming cycle to increase electrical output to respond to grid requests.
Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, TX. To expand the operational window of gas turbines for greater turndown, allowing for more flexibility in the power/heat ratios and enable grid support by CHP systems.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Knoxville, TN. To develop a power conditioning system converter and a corresponding control system for flexible CHP systems.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute in Blacksburg, VA. To develop a modular, scalable medium voltage power converter featuring stability-enhanced grid-support functions for future flexible CHP systems operating in small-to midsize US manufacturing plants.
“A reliable and resilient grid is critical to US economic growth and energy security,” the DOE says.