This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

May 28, 2003

St. Paul Cogeneration Starts Up a 25-Megawatt Wood-Fired CHP Plant

St. Paul, Minnesota, is now drawing on wood waste to heat and cool most of its downtown buildings while also generating electricity, thanks to a new facility owned and operated by St. Paul Cogeneration, LLC. The new combined heat and power (CHP) plant is projected to burn 280,000 tons of wood waste each year, feeding 25 megawatts of power into the Minnesota power grid. The heat from the plant will meet 80 percent of the annual energy needs for District Energy St. Paul, Inc., a company that provides district heating and cooling services to the majority of buildings in downtown St. Paul. Cinergy Solutions, Inc. designed and built the innovative plant, which achieves a unique combination of renewable energy, CHP, and district heating technologies. See the Cinergy Solutions press release.

A similar facility in North Carolina is launching a three-month pilot program to divert waste wood from a nearby landfill. Green Power Energy Holdings Corporation owns and operates a CHP plant in Kenansville that can burn biomass, alternative fuels, or coal, producing 38 megawatts of power while generating steam for a nearby textile mill. Under the pilot program, Green Power will be responsible for diverting construction and demolition waste from the landfill for use at its plant. If the trial is successful, the company intends to enter into a long-term contract with the New Hanover County landfill. See the Green Power press release.

CHP, or cogeneration, is a highly efficient method of producing power, since the excess heat from the process is put to use in buildings or factories. Although often used in large power plants, CHP is also being implemented in a number of smaller facilities. In April, for instance, Hess Microgen installed two 200-kilowatt generators in a California supermarket, meeting most of the market's power needs while providing hot water, space heating, and the heat for a 110-ton absorption chiller. Also in April, the Chino Valley Medical Center in Chino, California, added three 260-kilowatt CHP systems that will meet 75 percent of the hospital's energy needs. Encorp Inc. provided the controls and switchgear for the systems. And in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, SC Johnson broke ground in April on a 3.2-megawatt CHP system that will be powered with landfill methane, providing heat and power to its Waxdale manufacturing plant. Northern Power Systems is building and installing the system. See the press releases from Hess Microgen, Encorp, SC Johnson, and Northern Power (PDF 76 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.