The Department of Energy has selected N.C. State University to lead one of seven regional partnerships that it is creating to promote use of combined heat and power technology.

The project aims to increase energy efficiency and help lower costs while cutting emissions.

NCSU will receive some $1.9 million to fund the creation of the southeast Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership, a government spokesperson told WRALTechWire.

The contract was awarded after a “competitive process,” the spokesperson added.

Isaac Panzarella of NCSU will spearhead the southeast effort. Panzarella is the Clean Power and Efficiency Project Coordinator at the North Carolina Solar Center.

Combined Heat and Power technology, which is called CHP,  refers to cogeneration or combined heat and power through the use of a heat engine or power station to simultaneously generate electricity and useful heat.

The Obama administration has set a goal of creating 40 gigawatts of CHP capacity by the year 2020. That would be double the current capacity available today, according to the Department of Energy. The DOE estimates that CHP could save $100 billion or more in energy costs over the next decade.

CHP efforts have been underway at the DOE since 2003.

The other six CHP Technical Assistance Partnerships are based in California, Colorado, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Washington state/

“[T]hese organizations will offer best practices for CHP project financing, management and state policies, market analysis tools and resources, and technical site evaluations,” the DOE said..

According to the announcement, CHP resources ”helped hospitals, fire stations and multifamily housing in New York and New Jersey continue their operations when the electric grid went down” during Hurricane Sandy. 

Ten Things to Know About CHP

Rebecca Matulka of the DOE wrote a blog about CHP. The list follows:

10. Often called cogeneration or CHP, a combined heat and power system provides both electric power and heat from a single fuel source. While most power plants in the U.S. create steam as a byproduct that is then expelled as wasted heat, a CHP system captures the energy that would normally be lost in power generation and uses it to provide heating and cooling to factories and businesses.

9. Every year, more energy is lost as wasted heat in power generation in the U.S. than the total energy use of Japan. CHP cuts this amount of wasted energy nearly in half.

8. CHP has been used in the United States for more than 100 years since Thomas Edison used it to power the world’s first commercial power plant. Decentralized CHP systems located at industrial and municipal sites became the foundation of the U.S.’s early electric power industry. However, as power generation technologies advanced, the power industry began to build larger central station facilities to take advantage of increasing economies of scale.

7. Did you know? The U.S. Capitol Building and congressional buildings will soon be powered by a CHP plant. This summer, the Architect of the Capitol started designing a CHP plant that would generate approximately 18 megawatts of electricity and provide steam heat to congressional buildings. Once completed, the Capitol will join the list of other government organizations — like the General Services Administration and the National Institutes of Health — that operate CHP facilities.

6. CHP systems can use a diverse set of fuels to operate — from natural gas and biomass to coal and process wastes — and there are no limitations on where they can be deployed.

5. Currently, the U.S. has an installed capacity of over 82 gigawatts of CHP at more than 4,100 industrial and commercial facilities. That’s equal to 8 percent of the U.S.’s current generating capacity.

4. Many hospitals, schools, university campuses, hotels, nursing homes, office buildings and apartment complexes are turning to CHP systems to save on energy costs, increase energy reliability and cut carbon pollution. As of 2012, commercial buildings and institutional applicants represented 13 percent of CHP systems in the United States.

3. Last year, President Obama set a goal of 40 gigawatts of new, cost-effective CHP by 2020. Meeting this goal would save American manufacturers and companies $10 billion each year in energy costs, result in $40 to $80 billion in new capital investment in plants and facilities that would create American jobs, and reduce carbon pollution by 150 million metric tons — that’s equal to the emissions of more then 25 million cars.

2. Since 2003, the Energy Department has been working to grow the CHP market through technical assistance partnerships — most recently with seven new projects that will operate regionally and collectively across the U.S. Between 2009 and 2012, the partnerships have provided technical support to more than 440 CHP projects — helping U.S. manufacturers, businesses, hospitals and universities understand how CHP can improve their bottom lines, lower energy bills and help protect our air and water.

1. During and after Hurricane Sandy, CHP systems played a key role in enabling hospitals, universities, schools and residential buildings to continue operations when the electricity grid went down in the hardest-hit localities — proving that CHP is a sound choice in making our energy infrastructure more resilient in the face of extreme weather events.