New York University (NYU) just announced that their brand new super efficient CoGeneration power plant is now fully operational. NYU has been making their own power since the ’70s — the university is one of the largest groups in Manhattan to do so — and were ordered by the city to cut emissions on their power generation. NYU obliged by replacing their 30-year old oil-fired CoGeneration power plant with a $125 million power plant underneath a plaza at 251 Mercer Street. The new plant is 90 percent more effective than their old plant, creates 23 percent less carbon dioxide emissions and will give the university twice the power output.

new york university, nyu power plant, new york power plant, new york university power plant, cogeneration power plant, new york city power, efficient power plant

The new plant will provide electricity for lights, elevators and computers for 22 of NYU’s buildings and steam for heating and cooling water for 37 buildings. The university chose to switch from oil to natural gas for emissions reasons — we’d have recommended they put windmills and solar panels on their rooftops instead, but we’ll take the emissions cuts, for now. The new power plant burns gas to fire a generator that creates electricity, waste heat is then used to boil water to create steam which turns another turbine to create more electricity, finally waste steam from the steam generator is used to heat hot water in the winter or run a chiller in the summer time to fire up air conditioning units. The multi-part process makes sure that every bit of energy is salvaged and generates 13.4 megawatts of electricity. Here’s a great diagram showing how the system works.

This CoGen plant is unique in New York and certainly around the country because of its efficiency,” said John Bradley, assistant VP for Sustainability, Energy, and Technical Services at NYU. “NYU’s CoGen will be well into the 90 percent range of efficiency, where a typical boiler plant is 50-60 percent efficient.” The plant is the major cornerstone of NYU’s 2010 Climate Action Plan (CAP) which sought to reduce the university’s carbon footprint. CAP was jump started by New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC Climate Challenge which asked all city colleges and universities to cut their carbon emissions voluntarily by 30 percent by 2017.


By upgrading their oil-fired power plant to a natural gas plant, NYU is able to increase their power efficiency by 90 percent and reduce their CO2 emissions by a whopping 23 percent.

+ Read more about NYU’s new power plant

Via New York Times

Lead image by Jonathan71