Reducing Emissions with Cogeneration

On-site power generation is an established industry that has transformed its products to offer cost savings, operational resilience and carbon emissions reductions. Historically, on-site power generation has been reserved for times of power outages, with the industry primarily offering diesel backup generators.

Over the past 20 years, on-site power generation has evolved to include continuous cogeneration of power and heat and has attracted the support of state agencies. The carbon emissions reductions and cost savings from efficient power generation meets the needs of a low carbon economy.

ENER-G Rudox, formerly known as Rudox Engine and Equipment Company, has been based in the Meadowlands area since 1949. It is now investing in a new facility in East Rutherford to improve the production of its cogeneration product line, investing close to $9 million to do so. The growth of this industry and continued state support offer cost relief, resilience and carbon savings to a range of businesses.

Cogeneration reduces fuel use from the power sector. In traditional power plants, at least 60 percent of input fuel is wasted in the form of heat. The smoke clouds you see billowing from smokestacks demonstrate this tremendous heat loss. This means that much more fuel is burned than necessary to power our homes and businesses.

In a world facing the harmful effects of climate change, finding ways to lower our usage of fossil fuels is of paramount importance. On-site cogeneration offers a solution because it only wastes 15 percent of input fuel.

Both the power and heat products from a reciprocating engine are used productively. This makes cogeneration a priority for environmental agencies to support.

The New Jersey Clean Energy Program strongly supports cogeneration because of its ability to reduce emissions in the power sector. Its Combined Heat & Power & Fuel Cell program offers up to $2 million per project to install cogeneration units. The program requires funded projects to achieve efficiency and uptime goals. The unit is required to convert 65 percent of its input fuel to useful energy and run for at least 5,000 hours each year. For units designed to achieve 85 percent efficiency and 7,884 run-hours per year, this is an achievable target. The agency’s support of this technology has unlocked carbon reduction and utility bill savings for high energy usage customers.

Cogeneration is transforming how large energy customers use power. St. Peter’s University in Jersey City installed cogeneration from ENER-G Rudox to supply its dormitories and classroom buildings with clean power. The University generates 2,454 megawatt-hours of electricity from two natural gas driven 160 kW ENER-G Rudox cogeneration units. Together with the installation of a 200 kW solar photovoltaic system, this has reduced Saint Peter’s dependence on grid generated power.

Their price per kWh from these sources is on a fixed contract, whereas grid electricity varies from month to month. Based on this, the project guarantees $374,000 in savings.

On-site fossil fuel generation can now be considered a clean energy technology. Saint Peter’s University in Jersey City is setting the standard for energy performance in higher education by reducing its power generation carbon dioxide emissions by 6.4 million lbs. per year. That carbon reduction is like taking 611 cars off the road. The technologies used to accomplish this include cogeneration as well as absorption chilling, solar photovoltaics, LED lighting, variable speed pumps and high efficiency boilers. Cogeneration can be a driving force for sustainability efforts.

While on-site power has traditionally been considered a capital expense, the savings from cogeneration allow financing options as well. At St. Peter’s, there was no upfront capital cost to the university, with ENER-G Rudox funding the $6.3 million capital investment. This was partially offset by two substantial grants from the New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program, which in combination with Federal Tax Credits totaled $1.86 million Guaranteed energy savings over a 15 year contract were underwritten by ENER-G Rudox.

The substantial carbon and economic savings of cogeneration allow businesses to tackle two goals at once: Improving environmental impact and lowering operating costs. Cogeneration compliments diesel backup power and offers an economic way to go green.

“For many commercial and industrial facilities, the ability to obtain ‘Triple Bottom Line’ benefits exists through energy infrastructure projects, as they take advantage of the economic, environmental and operation savings provided,” said Ryan Goodman, President, ENER-G Rudox.

ENER-G Rudox is pleased to continue our mission in the Meadowlands area.

Brendan Burke is a business development analyst with ENER-G Rudox which is located in East Rutherford. More information about the company can be found at www.energ-rudox.com.

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Meadowlands USA

Meadowlands USA

Meadowlands USA is a North Jersey regional publication that reaches people who live and work in and around the Meadowlands (including the Bergen, Hudson, Essex and Passaic County corridor), as well as visitors to our region. The blog edition is updated regularly and the print edition is released six times a year.

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