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University of Illinois at Chicago West Campus - 21 MW District Energy CHP System - Case Study

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Quick Facts

LOCATION: Chicago, Illinois
MARKET SECTOR: Colleges & Universities
TOTAL CHP GENERATING CAPACITY: 21 Megawatts
TOTAL HEAT RECOVERY RATE:
90,000 lb/hr steam unfired
360,000 lb/hr steam duct-fired
USE OF THERMAL ENERGY: Heating, Cooling, and
Domestic Hot Water
FUEL TYPE: Natural Gas
EQUIPMENT:
(3) 7.0 MW Solar Taurus Natural Gas Turbines
(3) Exhaust Gas HRSGs with Duct Burners
(2) 500 RT Carrier Absorption Chillers
(1) 1,000 RT Carrier Absorption Chiller
(3) 5.4 MW Wärtsilä Natural Gas Engine Generator
Sets (peak operation only – nheat recovery)
TOTAL PROJECT COST: $36 Million
SIMPLE PAYBACK: Less than 7 Years
BEGAN OPERATION: 2001
OPERATING SCHEDULE: 24/7

Project Overview

The Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system, located at the West Campus of the University of Illinois at Chicag(UIC), has an electric generating capacity of 21 megawatts and can generate up t360,000 lb/hr of steam tprovide building heat, domestic hot water, and absorption cooling tthe various buildings of the UIC West Campus. At the heart of the UIC West Campus CHP system lies three 7.0 MW Solar Taurus turbines. The $36 million CHP plant, installed in 2001, realized annual savings between $5 and $7 million and a simple payback below 7 years. Operating in conjunction with the UIC East Campus CHP facility (online since 1993), the CHP systems provide service tthe entire university’s 8+ million square feet and over 27,000 students.

Background

The existing boiler plant at the UIC West Campus incorporated a central steam system that was originally owned and operated by the local electric utility, Commonwealth Edison. Walk through steam tunnels provided piping of steam tthe various campus buildings and ncentrally chilled water service or electric generation existed at the time prior tthe 2001 CHP installation. With the early success and experience of the East Campus 20.2 MW CHP system, located one mile from the West Campus, CHP seemed tbe an ideal solution and upgrade tthe existing West Campus operating facilities. The twCHP plants today are connected through a 69 kV tie line down Roosevelt Road that that allows a high degree of flexibility and reliability between the twcampuses. The major buildings served on the West Campus by the CHP Facility include:

  • UIC Hospital and Outpatient Buildings
  • Rush Presbyterian Hospital
  • School of Pharmacy
  • School of Dentistry
  • School of Nursing
  • Residence Areas
  • Associated Buildings

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