UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS COMBINED HEAT AND POWER PLANT
- Size: 16,900 Square Feet
- Construction Cost: $20 Million
- Services: Energy Modeling, Life Cycle Cost Analysis, Financial Analysis, MEPFP Design, Utility Rate Advocacy
- Completion Date: 2016
Bernhard TME performed a detailed study and developed a Strategic Energy Plan for the University of Arkansas. The purpose of the study was to develop a project that would support the University’s commitment to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2040 as part of the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
For the initial assessment, Bernhard TME gathered energy consumption data from each central energy plant and the building automation system (BAS). This data was used to develop a customized computer model of all chilled water, heating water, and steam energy flows. The model was calibrated using operational data and historical utility consumption and costs. Known future and on-going campus changes were also included in the model to improve accuracy and allow the model to predict changes in energy consumption over time.
Using this model as a baseline, numerous energy conservation measures (ECMs) were evaluated including: hydronic free cooling controls; boiler blowdown heat recovery; condensing boiler economizer; combined heat and power plant; thermal energy storage; demand shedding and peak shaving with diesel generators; installation of additional heat pump chiller heaters; micro-steam turbine generator; solar photovoltaic array; and fuel cells.
For financial analysis of each option, an initial simple payback was calculated based on first cost estimates and modeled energy consumption and costs. Bernhard TME then performed a detailed economic analysis and financial modeling for options with the most promising simple payback. The University’s financial goals were for the project to provide a payback over 25 years at a rate of return of six percent. Each ECM was compared to these financial metrics and a proposed project was chosen. The resulting project included replacement of two aging boilers with a gas turbine generator and heat recovery steam boiler to create a combined heat and power plant (CHP).
Upon completion of the study, Bernhard TME presented the proposed CHP project and its economics to University stakeholders for review and approval. The presentation illustrated how the proposed CHP met the University’s goals and objectives compared to the “Business as Usual” alternative. After working closely with University to refine the proposed project, the Board of Trustees for University of Arkansas System approved the project for implementation.
Bernhard TME provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection design for the installation of the CHP. Bernhard TME also negotiated with the local utility to secure a special rate contract for the University, which enhanced the economics of the project.
Today, the CHP system generates approximately 33% of the annual campus electricity consumption and 65% of the annual campus heating consumption at a significantly higher efficiency and lower emissions than that achieved by purchasing utility generated electricity and separately generating heat by the combustion of fossil fuels. The project is projected to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions by 32,000 metric tons per year, provide enhanced power reliability for the campus and average annual cost savings exceeding $1 million over the next 25 years. Bernhard TME provides on-going measurement and verification services for the CHP.