Oakland University added two combined heat and power (CHP) systems to anchor its micro-grid and meet today’s standards of environmental responsibility.

The sixth floor of the university’s Engineering Center houses the microturbine-powered CHP system supplied, installed, and commissioned by GEM Energy. The system consists of two Capstone C200 microturbines each of which generates 200 kW of electricity, plus heat exchangers and a FlexSet DG control unit. The micro turbines are ducted to two heat recovery exchange units that generate hot water at two different temperature levels. The hotter water supplements the campus-wide water system year-round, while the lower-temperature water helps melt snow on the building’s perimeter.

FlexSet DG monitors the equipment and balances daily energy production and consumption for optimal energy distribution and lowest cost. The web-based dashboard — accessible on mobile devices or computers — provides real-time data. In an outage, the units automatically isolate a portion of the building’s electrical system from the grid and provide emergency power.

To help the next generation of energy decision-makers understand CHP technology, the Southeast Michigan university is teaching the concept in an upper-level engineering course that supplements classroom learning with hands-on experience at an on-site, in-progress CHP installation.

Central heating plants are always a good target for CHP systems, however, smaller distributed generation CHP and solar is worth a close look in today's energy economy. Resiliency, backup power, carbon reduction, and planning for the future of sustainable energy infrastructure can all be based on CHP. If smaller distributed baseload systems are your choice, Capstone microturbines are a prime solution.

James Leidel, Director of Clean Energy Systems
Oakland University

In the News