Increased Reliability of Power Generation for NCRC Occupants
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Powering Research at NCRC: Co-Generation

By utilizing a Gas Turbine Generator located in the Power House, NCRC plans to co-generate electricity and useful heat, alongside our DTE partner for the site.

Co-generation happens when natural gas is burned to generate electricity via the Gas Turbine Generator, and heat from the exhaust is collected to create steam for heating via the Heat Recovery Steam Generator.

When describing Planet Blue, the university’s sustainability initiative, President Mary Sue Coleman said, “We’ve all been better educated about what’s possible.” Co-generation is an excellent example of what is possible. Co-generation will reduce CO₂ emissions by 9,400 metric tons of Carbon Dioxide (MT CO₂) per year. This is equivalent to:

  • the annual CO₂ emissions from 1,971 average sized vehicle’s or
  • the annual CO₂ emissions from 1,407 average sized household’s
  • which is equivalent to 7,705 acres of trees being planted

By producing its own energy using natural gas, NCRC will have more reliable power generation during outages. In addition, the lower price of natural gas, compared to electricity, means that co-generating power to NCRC will result in an estimated savings of $500K per year. Due to this cost savings, co-generation will mean an offset in lease rate increases over the years.

Robert Ruggles, Power Plant Manager for NCRC Operations, says, “The last time this unit was on line and co-generating was November of 2005, when the decision was made to shut it down because of the high price of gas. Due to recent favorable gas prices, an awful lot of work has been done in the six months since the decision was made to bring the gas turbine on line, and I can’t say enough about how everyone on the team has done whatever was needed to get the turbine, generator, boiler, and all of the associated equipment ready for reliable service in such a short period of time, even when it meant late hour testing to minimize the impact to the site and its occupants.

It has been very gratifying for me to see the powerhouse come back to life as each building is occupied and this gas turbine will once again produce a large part of the electricity and steam needed for the site on a daily basis.”

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