Combined Heat and Power

Combined heat and power is an efficient and clean approach to produce power and thermal energy in a single and integrated system. CHP significantly improves the efficiency by recovering heat that would otherwise be wasted in a conventional power plant. The CHP plant at West Campus runs at an overall efficiency of nearly 80%, whereas traditional power plant has a combined efficiency of only 45%.

CHP Process Flow Diagram

How the Penn State system connects to the University, the State College Community and the World

  • The University
    • Provides a safe haven for students, faculty, staff and the community in the unlikely event of a total loss of power
    • Reliable source of power for researchers
      • The team plant produces less than 6% of the electricity demand of Penn State, but supplies 100% of the emergency power need. It is a reliable source of power for researchers and provides a safe haven for students, faculty, staff and the community in the unlikely event of a total loss of power.
  • The State College Community
    • Cleaner
      • The CHP is more efficient than the grid
        • CHP is almost twice as efficient as the traditional power plants that support electricity via the grid. The onsite heat and electricity generation of CHP also eliminates the transmission and distribution loss via the grid.
      • Reduces annual emissions
    • Provides the possibility of partnership on a long-term community sustainable future.
  • The World
    • Natural Resources Defense Council - NRDC is a New York City based environmental action group with 1.4 million members and online activists and a staff of more than 350 lawyers, scientists and professionals.
    • GreenPeace-UK EfficienCity - GreenPeace is an independent, non-governmental, and global environmental campaigning organization with offices in over 40 countries. It is headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and focuses on protecting the Earth to build a green and peaceful future.
    • International Energy Agency (IEA) - IEA is a Paris based autonomous organization working to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and non-member countries especially China, India and Russia. 
      • “CHP represents a series of proven, reliable, and cost-effective technologies that are already making an important contribution to meeting global heat and electricity demand.”
      • “CHP merits a closer look by policy makers as they investigate paths towards a lower-carbon, more efficient, and lower-cost and reliable energy future.
      • Harnessing Variable Renewables (pdf)
    • US administration Executive Order