Energy Efficiency - Doing the Texas two-step
A prototype energy system now being field tested in Austin, Texas, may revolutionize how businesses power and cool their buildings. The integrated energy system, implemented through a partnership between DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Austin Energy, the municipal utility, and developed by Burns & McDonnell, combines on-site electricity generation with cooling and heating to save energy. The system generates electricity from a natural gas-fired turbine, and that electricity is fed into the local power grid. At the same time, the turbine's exhaust heat fuels the world's largest absorption chiller to be fired only by "waste" heat. This "fuel free" chilled water cools one-million-square-feet of building space at a mixed use site. The cooling, heating and power system is expected to operate at 70 to 80 percent efficiency, compared with 55 percent efficiency in the best central power plants. The system will be monitored over the two-year demonstration by the ORNL-Austin Energy-Burns & McDonnell team and the University of Texas at Austin.
November 10, 2004