Completion of US medical centre CHP/cooling project

A US$377 million expansion plan at Texas Medical Center, which includes the largest district cooling facility in the United States, has been completed.

Projected to save Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO) and its customers more than $200 million over the next 15 years, the expansion included installing a 48 MW CHP unit and adding 32,000 tonnes of new chiller capacity; an 8.8 million-gallon stratified thermal energy storage tank; distribution piping; and a new operations support facility featuring a state-of-the-art control room.

The company now has 120,000 tonnes of cooling capacity, which is said to be enough to cool the equivalent of 30,000 homes.

The expansion's focal point is the new CHP unit, which doubles TECO's operating efficiency to 80% and will enable it to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 302,000 tons annually compared to previous operations.

Electricity and waste heat from the new natural gas-fired CHP plant are being used to produce steam and chilled water, which are piped underground to more than 18 million square feet of customer buildings at 18 institutions on the medical center campus.

Any surplus electricity from the plant will be sold to the regional utility grid.

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