Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Major

Mechanical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Minel J Braun

First Reader

Patrick W Klanac

Second Reader

Eric L Wright

Abstract

Cogeneration is a process of electrical power generation that simultaneously harnesses the heat produced from that electrical generation and uses it to supply heat to a space. The Akron Water Plant was identified as potentially benefitting from this technology for two main reasons. First, they have a large and relatively constant electrical load. Second, they have ownership of a significant amount of natural gas wells at the site.

This report analyzes the economic feasibility of installing a cogeneration plant at the Akron Water Plant (AWP). Data was collected for the plant and its operations, including electricity bills, gas bills, plant layout, current heating and cooling methods, natural gas well capacities, and lease agreements. Based on this information, primarily the electrical consumption of the plant, cogenerators manufactured by 2G Energy were selected as the basis of design for the analysis. A cogeneration plant sized for the electrical consumption of the plant leads to significantly more waste heat than could be utilized to heat the AWP facilities. However, after studying the operation of the system, it became apparent that the cogenerator requires more fuel than the AWP wells have the capacity to produce. Nonetheless, the study was continued on the assumption that the wells did have the required capacity in order to study the economic feasibility of cogeneration systems in general. Price estimates were generated for each of the four proposed cogeneration configurations, including all costs required to update the plant from electric baseboard and gas heating to the hydronic heating provided by the cogenerator, and a payback analysis was performed to better understand the feasibility of each option. The results of this analysis are displayed in the table below.

In conclusion, a cogeneration system may not be feasible for AWP due to the limited availability of natural gas; however, this study was useful in showing the feasibility of cogeneration plants as a concept. Should a facility have a larger gas well available, or even another fuel source capable of supplying the cogenerator, then cogeneration can provide enormous energy savings and appears to be a viable system.

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