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Cogeneration construction

MIT's state-of-the art cogeneration power plant is nearing completion on Vassar Street near Massachusetts Avenue.

The $44 million plant, a two-year construction project, will soon replace the Institute's decades-old power plant. Roger Moore, superintendent of utilities for Physical Plant, expects the "co-gen" facility to go on line early in the spring.

The new plant is rated at 22 MWe (megawatts of electricity) and will produce electricity and steam, allowing MIT to generate about 94 percent of its energy needs. MIT will buy the rest from Cambridge Electric Light Co.

The plant's electric generator will be driven by a natural gas-fired combustion turbine engine. The engine's hot exhaust gases will be used to produce steam. The projected annual energy-budget saving is 10 to 15 percent, Mr. Moore said. The plant will be 18 percent more efficient than the present arrangement, in which steam and electricity must be generated in separate operations.

In addition, the new facility will reduce pollutant emissions by 45 percent.

The work has involved replacing two of five existing oil-fueled boilers with new cogeneration units and upgrading the others, which will be used as backup units.

A version of this article appeared in the November 9, 1994 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 39, Number 11).

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