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Minneapolis, MN | August 2023

U of M Combined Heat and Power Plant Chilled Water Addition

The project consisted of installing combined heat and power generation equipment in the building and provided space planned for a future package boiler and future chilled water plant equipment to create a multi-function "Old Main" facility. 
The combined heat and power equipment represents a two stage configuration. First, the new natural gas fired turbine generates electricity for use on the Minneapolis campus. Second, the new heat recovery steam boiler recovers heat from the combustion gases that are discharged from the turbine to generate the required steam capacity. The combined heat and power equipment solution was chosen because the added benefit of electricity generation for use on campus further reduced the carbon footprint for the University and represents the best long-term sustainable solution from an energy use standpoint. Additionally, the plant was designed with space allocated for future installation of a packaged boiler as well as two steam turbine-driven chillers. The building consists of approximately 39,600 gross square feet.

Hunt Electric secured the chilled water plant addition in 2021, which added chillers, cooling towers, pumps and electrical distribution to support the new equipment, adding a 6,000 ton chiller to the existing combined heat and power plant to transform the facility into a combined cooling, heat and power plant. 

The main energy plant saves the University of Minnesota an estimated net $2 million annually in utility operating costs. Co-generation means using the waste heat from the production of electricity to produce steam heat as a useful byproduct. The main energy plant will produce and distribute over half the electricity for the East Bank campus. The residual heat from electrical production will be captured and used to produce steam to heat and cool most of the Minneapolis campus. 

This very technical project is the first of its kind with a new 22.8 megawatt combustion turbine and heat recovery system that generates electric power and steam for the Minneapolis campus. The new plant was built in  the renovated "Old Main Heating Plant" originally constructed in 1912. It reduces the University’s net carbon footprint by an estimated 10-13% and will provide the University with a more reliable source of energy, unaffected by supply disruptions to the local area grid.


  • Industrial

Hunt’s Role