Central Utilities Plant (CUP)
Completed in 1995, the Central Utilities Plant’s William R. Dickson Cogeneration Facility (Building 42, on the northern edge of campus) helps MIT conserve energy and reduce pollution. Cogeneration – which achieves high efficiency by using one fuel to generate two types of energy – is one of the cleaner and most cost-effective options for producing power.
In MIT’s cogeneration plant, a 20-megawatt natural gas turbine is used to produce both electric and thermal energy. The waste heat from the turbine’s exhaust is captured in a heat recovery steam generator, and the resulting steam is used for heating and cooling (via chillers that are driven by steam turbines).
The facility has won a number of awards, including the Energy Star Combined Heat and Power Award for environmental excellence from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy in 2002.
At the heart of the current cogeneration plant is an ABB GT10A Combustion Turbine Generator set with a nominal turbine output of 21 MW. The turbine uses the ABB EV (Environmental) combustor, which uses a premixed, swirling combustion flow together with water injection to generate low NOx levels on both gas and liquid fuels.