The University Network

Eastern Michigan University Reaches Nearly 100% Energy Self-Sufficiency With New Turbine

As part of its $19.6 million project to become energy self-sufficient, Eastern Michigan University recently installed an energy-efficient turbine in its heating plant. The service of this new 7.8 megawatt turbine will make EMU practically self-sufficient in production of heat and electricity on campus.  

In furtherance of the Co-Gen (co-generation) project, the university used a 500-ton crane to lift the 55-ton turbine into place. It replaced a 29-year-old Co-Gen unit that stopped working in April 2016.

“The existing 4.0 MW Co-Gen unit had reached the end of its useful life,” Bilal Sarsour, director of facilities maintenance at EMU, told TUN. “Our analysis revealed the benefits of upgrading the Co-Gen from not only an economic standpoint but also an environmental view as well.”

“This unit is a ‘Combined Heat and Power’ unit, which means we not only generated electricity but also recover the waste heat to make steam for thermal needs on campus,” Sarsour explained.

The new system will foster environmental and economic development at EMU. It will generate 98 percent of the heat and 93 percent of the electricity needs on campus, effectively saving the university more than $2.8 million dollars each year. This is a huge step up from the old system, which only accounted for 50 percent of campus heat and electricity needs.

The new Co-Gen unit will also reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions. EMU expects that the unit will result in reducing annual campus CO2 emissions by an estimated 21,305 tons and nitrogen oxides by 112 tons.

The installation of the new turbine reflects EMU’s devotion to global environmental sustainability. “At Eastern Michigan University, we are doing more with less,” said Sarsour. “We are committed to help improve the energy efficiency of America’s commercial and industrial buildings.  As we join the ranks of other leaders in energy efficiency, our energy savings are reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change.”

Environmentalism is a priority at EMU, which will continue its efforts to fight for environmental sustainability. “EMU is constantly reviewing and evaluating its facilities and equipment throughout the campus,” said Sarsour. “We are always on the lookout for opportunities which present themselves to improve operational efficiencies and to make EMU even ‘Greener’.”

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Jackson Schroeder is a journalism major and political science minor working towards his Bachelor's degree at Ohio University. He is from Savannah Georgia. Jackson has covered a wide range of topics, including Sports, Culture, Travel, and Music. Jackson plays Bass and Guitar, and enjoys playing and listening to live music in his free time.