CHP Plant Saves Energy and Money For Penn State

HERSHEY, Pa. — The Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center is in the midst of building a combined heat and power system — or, CHP plant — that is expected to save the facility an estimated $2.5 million a year.

In addition to significant financial savings, the installation of the CHP plant is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 44,000 tons per year. The initial investment of the plant is expected to cost about $19 million, and is projected to be finished by October 2018.

Bette & Cring headquartered out of Latham, N.Y. in collaboration with Cogen Power Technologies — also based out of Latham — have been contracted to design and construct the new CHP plant on the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Campus.

The project will include construction of a ground level structural steel frame building housing the gas turbine generator (GTG), HRSG (boiler), electrical gear and other necessary ancillary equipment. The natural gas compressor and black start diesel generator will be located outside, just south of the structure. The new CHP building will be constructed as an addition to the existing central plant, just west of the existing chiller room.

The project scope will include site work, geotech improvements, new concrete foundations, structural steel framework, concrete building and equipment foundations, exterior insulated metal wall panels, membrane roofing system, limited interior renovations for offices, and installation of equipment provided for a complete mechanical and electrical installation.

In addition, Penn State made the switch from coal to natural gas 18 months ago to heat the buildings on its University Park campus. The “Last Day of Coal” celebration that took place in March, 2016 began a new era for Penn State when the switch was made to natural gas on March 30.

The switch was about making the air quality in the state college better, as well as complying with the Boiler MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) Standards that the EPA established in 2012. MACT is aimed at reducing hazardous air-pollutant emissions, and Penn State was required to be in compliance by the end of 2016. In the end, not only did Penn State comply with the requirements, but the project also cut carbon emissions almost in half and lowered all other pollutants.

Rachel Leber

Rachel Leber is a freelance writer at Emlen Media. She can be reached directly at rachel@emlenmedia.com.