US college reaping reward from on-site power

US college Bowdoin in Maine has announced that a new steam turbine in the campus central heating plant is up and running.

In its first two nights of operating, the turbine produced 300 kilowatts, enough electricity to meet half of the north campus’s demand of 600 kilowatts, according to John Simoneau, Bowdoin’s capital projects manager.

And when the turbine was tested Friday, it produced 600kW, which met approximately 3% of the total electricity demand on the campus. Total demand that morning was 1400kW.

The 630-kilowatt turbine generator skid and associated electrical equipment were lowered into the heating plant in late July 2011.

With higher steam demand, the turbine can produce up to 630 kilowatts.

The multi-phase project was made possible with the help of a $400,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant obtained through the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

The turbine is powered from steam that the college uses to heat the campus, so depending on the steam load, the turbine will produce between 100 kilowatts and 630 kilowatts.

It is projected to produce 1.7 million kilowatt hours annually, offsetting about 10% of the electricity that the college would have had to purchase.

The use of on-site power generation is estimated to reduce Bowdoin’s indirect carbon dioxide emissions by 700 tons annually. The college has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2020.

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