RENTECH Projects Win EPA Awards

HRSG systems from RENTECH Boilers were selected and installed at new CHP plants at two of the six winners of the 2011 ENERGY STAR Awards from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source, such as natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat or oil. CHP is an integrated energy system that can be modified to meet the needs of the end-user of the energy. CHP technology exists in a wide variety of energy-intensive facilities, including industrial manufacturers, institutions, commercial buildings, municipal and residential.

CHP systems qualify for the ENERGY STAR CHP Award from the EPA in the U.S. Department of Energy by demonstrating considerable fuel and emissions savings over comparable, separate heat and power generation. The award recognizes highly efficient CHP systems that reduce emissions and use at least five percent less fuel. Candidates for the award must have a minimum of 12 months and 5,000 hours of measured operating data. Benefits include efficiency, reliability, environmental and economic.

The award winners for 2011 include Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., and University of Massachusetts at Amherst, who both selected HRSG systems from RENTECH Boiler Systems of Abilene, Texas, for their projects.

Cornell University
from www.epa.gov

Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., set a goal of reducing its CO2 emissions to 20-30% below its 1990 levels by 2012. The university’s most recent step to improve its energy infrastructure and reduce CO2 emissions was the addition of 30 MW of new CHP capacity in 2009.

Two new Solar combustion turbine/generators along with two RENTECH HRSGs provide the university’s 31,000 faculty, staff and students with up to 37 MW of electricity. Additional electricity is generated by a small 1904-vintage hydroelectric plant re-built in 1981. Three boilers and two exceptionally efficient heat recovery systems from RENTECH Boilers of Abilene, Texas, can produce 580,000 pounds per hour of steam to satisfy the demand of campus operations. The combined effect of the new CHP system and energy modernization activities will allow Cornell University to retire two coal boilers in 2011. These units previously burned 65,000 tons of coal each year.

“RENTECH was able to show us that they had the technical expertise we needed,” Cornell project manager Timothy Peer told Power Generation magazine. “We wanted to have a model of efficiency and reduce the exhaust gases to the greatest extent feasible. They were willing to come up with a HRSG that was going to extract more low-grade heat out of the flue gas.”

With an operating efficiency of nearly 79 percent, the CHP system requires approximately 29 percent less fuel than a typical energy-supply system. Based on this comparison, the CHP system prevents an estimated 89,300 tons per year of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the emissions from more than 15,400 passenger vehicles.

EPA is proud to recognize the outstanding pollution reduction and energy efficiency qualities of this project with a 2011 ENERGY STAR® CHP Award.

University of Massachusetts Amherst
from www.epa.gov

In December 2008 the University of Massachusetts at Amherst began operation of a 14 MW CHP system. The system represents a major milestone for the university and is part of a multi-year initiative to reduce fuel consumption and minimize its environmental footprint. The activities, ranging from the replacement of old light fixtures to the $133 million investment in the CHP system, are the reasons the university has reduced overall energy consumption by 21 percent since 2004.

A 10 MW Solar combustion turbine, a heat recovery steam generator from RENTECH Boilers of Abilene, Texas, a 4 MW steam turbine, and three natural gas-fired boilers replace the university’s nearly 80 year-old coal-fired boilers. The CHP system produces nearly all of the electric and steam demand for a campus comprising more than 200 buildings and nearly 10 million gross square feet of building space. One unique and environmentally progressive characteristic of the system has little to do with energy conservation – 160,000 gallons of treated effluent per day from the local wastewater treatment plant is used to generate steam. The effluent replaces the drinking water that would typically be used by such systems.

With an operating efficiency of nearly 75 percent, the CHP system requires approximately 18 percent less fuel than the separate production of thermal energy and electricity. Based on this comparison, the CHP system prevents an estimated 26,600 tons per year of CO2 emissions, equivalent to the emissions from more than 4,600 passenger vehicles.

EPA is proud to recognize the outstanding pollution reduction and energy efficiency qualities of this project with a 2011 ENERGY STAR® CHP Award.