Texas Medical Center revs up $370 million heat and power plant

Texas Medical Center has gone off the grid with a new clean energy power plant that will save it money and cut carbon dioxide emissions, according to the Houston Business Journal.

The new combined heat and power plant produces 45 to 48 megawatts of power. The turbine exhaust will also generate some 270,000 pounds per hour of steam for the physical plant at the medical facility. Thermal Energy Corporation, which provides thermal services to Texas Medical Center, opened the plant.

The $370 million plant was partially funded by $10 million from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Operating at 80 percent efficiency, the plant will cut 305,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year, as opposed to purchasing the heat and power separately off the grid. That's equal to taking 53,000 U.S. cars off the roads, according to the International District Energy Association (IDEA).

Power plants that use a combined heat and power technology run more efficiently, according to Construction Digital. The electric and waste heat from the facility will produce steam and chilled water for use in air conditioning, space heating, dehumidification, sterilization and other processes throughout the facility.

Because the plant does not depend on buying power from the Texas electric grid, it avoids extreme price peaks, such as the one that occurred on Aug. 23, when demand hit an all-time record and electricity prices surged to $2,200 per megawatt-hour, compared to the $50 per megawatt-hour average, according to IDEA.

To learn more:
- read the press release from the International District Energy Association
- read the Houston Business Journal story
- here's the Construction Digital story