Co-generation plant saves college $ 1 million a year

At Pacific Union College (PUC) in Napa County, facilities managers installed a $12 million gas turbine power plant that went into 24/7 continuous operations on Feb. 18, 2006. This plant saves the college approximately $1 million a year in energy costs.

Designed to last longer

The college installed a Kawasaki GPB-15X natural gas turbine, capable of generating 1.5 megawatts (MW) of power (1,490 KW). This is enough energy to satisfy the needs of a campus with more than a million square feet of building space. These facilities include dormitories, classrooms, laboratories, offices, a cafeteria, library, gymnasium, and auditoriums, along with a student center and church occupied by more than 1,200 students, faculty and the administrative staff.

The gas turbine system is designed to last 30 to 35 years. The engine is overhauled every three years to keep the power plant operating at peak efficiency. The exhaust from the turbine has temperatures approaching 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot air is captured in a heat recovery system that produces 10,000 pounds of steam per hour used in a variety of applications.