Erlanger Health System is getting closer to making the complete switch to Combined Heat & Power in Chattanooga.

During the CHP Tour USA informational event held earlier this week, attendees were given insight into the innovative project and its progress as well as a site tour of Erlanger’s 8 MW CHP system.

Ben Edgar, CEO of White Harvest Energy, helped make it all possible. His team has been serving as the developer and operator of the project and will continue some of those duties after completion.

Working alongside 2G Energy, which supplied the CHP equipment, Edgar says the CHP system is expected to go live before the end of the year.

2G Energy Inc., a subsidiary of 2G Energy AG in Germany, is a CHP cogeneration specialist offering cogeneration systems in 50 to 2,000 kW power range. The company has over 5,000 systems installed worldwide, and its U.S. headquarters is located in St. Augustine, Florida.

Unlike individually engineered CHP plants, 2G Energy’s modular systems make installation easier and incorporate components geared towards each other which made the construction phase of the project complete within a matter of months. Good news for Erlanger.

But since Erlanger is an emergency care center that remains in operations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the optimal arrangement for their facility is four packaged, reciprocating-engine based CHP units rated at 2,000 kWe each, for a total of 8,000 kWe.

During the presentation, Edgar explained each Heat Recovery Steam Generator is connected to two CHP units to optimize steam generation. The fourth engine is placed in standby and used when other engines are out for planned or unplanned maintenance. In this manner, at least one of the engines in the CHP system can be in operation 24/7/365 along with the hospital.

The 8 MW CHP system generates:

  • 52,000 MWh of electricity annually
  • 12,000 lb/hr 115 degree steam
  • 14,000 MMBtu/hr hot water
  • 800 tons of chilled water

John Loetscher, Vice President of Facilities, Engineering, and Construction at Erlanger cited cost savings and reliability as the leading factors that drove the hospital to make the decision to be powered by a CHP system. Incentives provided by TVA also made the project very economically attractive.

As the icing on the cake, the CHP project is highly sustainable. Due to the increased efficiency of the system, there’s significant reductions in CO2 emissions. Once the system is turned on at Erlanger, it’ll be the equivalent of taking 4,000 cars off the road annually and has the carbon sequestering ability of 20,000 acres of forest.

Edgar also pointed out that while Erlanger’s system is powered by natural gas, the 2G Energy technology is capable of using renewable gas so it would be 100% renewable energy.