University grant aimed at promotion of CHP in US Midwest

The University of Illinois (UIC) has been awarded a $4.2 million US Department of Energy (DOE) grant to advance combined heat and power technologies throughout the US Midwest.

UIC will manage one of eight DOE regional centers to promote CHP systems in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Wisconsin.
UIC Energy Resource Centre
As part of the grant, a team under the guidance of Cliff Haefke, director of the UIC Energy Resource Centre, will analyze and identify markets where CHP systems could make sense, conduct outreach about the benefits of the technology and provide technical assistance to organizations that are interested in CHP systems for their facilities.

“Education is a key component,” Haefke said. “We’ve come to realize that not a lot of folks even know what CHP is. There are a lot of industry applications that could benefit from this. Energy rates are going up, so it’s a way to combat the increasing electricity rates.”

Chicago Tonight reports that over the next five years, Haefke and about seven other staff members will work with universities, hospitals, industrial plants and other types of organizations across the Midwest that are interested in exploring the technology.

Another goal of the grant is to help make local power grids more resilient to the potential damage caused by natural disasters. When businesses or other organizations implement CHP systems at their facilities, Haefke said they become better equipped to manage fallout from storms or other destructive events because they’re able to generate power on-site. They also take pressure off aging regional power grids.

“If the utility grid does go down from a natural disaster, these [systems] can provide extra resiliency for a facility and that can be quite beneficial, to make sure you’re up and running [after the event],” he said

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