Distributed Energy and Smart Grids

Combined Heat and Power-Enabled Renewables

With funding from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection, investigators prepared a guide to CHP-Enabled Renewable Energy Microgrids in Pennsylvania: A Guidance Document for Conceiving Feasible Systems. 

The purpose of this guide is to provide introductory guidance to those in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania who are interested in conceiving, developing, and financing ‘hybrid’ fossil fuel and renewable energy systems.  These systems can provide on-site natural-gas fueled electric and thermal (e.g. hot water or steam) energy generation (combined heat and power, CHP) in combination with renewable energy resources such as solar photovoltaic arrays and battery storage systems.  Such systems provide an economically and environmentally attractive means to utilize Marcellus shale gas in combination with renewable energy resources to promote economic growth, with higher efficiency and lower emissions than conventional systems.

The target audience for such systems include owners of commercial and industrial buildings and properties with well-defined thermal loads, including retirement communities, multi-family buildings, hospitals, food processors and any large users of steam or hot water; commercial, institutional and industrial parks and campuses; and municipalities and rural co-op organizations.

A copy of the guide is available for download, allowing the user to assess feasibility of CHP-enabled renewable energy systems. Please complete the online form and a link to the files will be emailed to you.

State and National Lab Collaboration on Distributed Energy

Pittsburgh districts, Reading-area, and The Navy Yard are all sites with potential for CHP and renewables integration opportunities. Penn State is leading efforts with national labs for research and demonstration using Marcellus shale gas and solar to increase grid resiliency, reduce carbon emissions and optimize economic outcome.

DOE Mid-Atlantic Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership (CHP TAP)

Since 2009, Penn State has led the Mid-Atlantic CHP TAP (6 states and Washington, D.C.) to promote and assist in transforming the market for CHP, waste heat to power, and district energy technologies/concepts. CHP TAP provides resources and consulting to companies evaluating CHP for at their locations.