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Cogeneration Plant To Boost Fuel Efficiency, Cut Emissions

NIH, in partnership with Pepco Energy Services, Inc., is installing one of the largest cogeneration power plants ever built for the federal government that will boost energy efficiency, cut costs and reduce air emissions.

To help meet increased energy demand stemming from new and improved facilities on campus, the plant will employ the simultaneous cogeneration of electricity and steam from natural gas. The cogeneration facility will meet about half of the campus' current heating and electrical needs and save NIH more than $55 million over 15 years.

The highly efficient cogeneration of both steam and electricity with the planned air pollutant emission controls will reduce future pollutant emissions (NOx, CO, VOC, SO2, and particulate matter) by approximately 600 tons per year compared to the separate generation of steam in a new boiler and generation of electricity by typical existing equipment. In addition, cogeneration will burn less fuel than separate typical existing systems, which will reduce future CO2 (a greenhouse gas) emissions by approximately 100,000 tons per year. With other changes made at NIH's boiler house, the new system will reduce pollutant emissions and particulate matter by approximately 800 tons per year compared to NIH's 1991 to 1992 baseline emissions.

Pepco Energy Services, Inc., a subsidiary of Potomac Electric Power Co., will construct and operate the facility. This partnership will serve as a model of how the public and private sector can work together to achieve significantly reduced emissions coupled with substantial energy savings. NIH will be a showcase for how cogeneration and emerging energy technologies can substantially cut emissions of carbon dioxide, conserve fossil resources, reduce air pollution and provide improvements at large campus-style settings while providing more control over energy supply and reducing energy costs.

The campus includes more than 8 million square feet of laboratories, hospital rooms and teaching facilities, and offices. At efficiencies expected to exceed 85 percent, the electricity and thermal energy produced from this system will be among the most fuel-efficient energy produced in Maryland.

The project was financed through the energy savings under the area-wide agreement with the General Services Administration and in partnership with the local power company. NIH will own the facility and pay for the project out of energy savings in a financing package developed by Pepco Energy Services.

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