Facilities with controlled environments, whether cleanrooms, dry rooms, or highly integrated specialty labs, are hallmarked by their high levels of energy and water consumption year round, driven in large part by strict parameters controlling process, air purity, humidification, and temperature control.
Many controlled environment facilities, especially in the manufacturing sector, operate 24/7, with minimally scheduled down time for maintenance. Inadvertent lines down events are costly. The benefits of combined heat and power (CHP) are both specific to the facility deploying the technology, while also driving policy considerations on the national stage:
- Reduced overall energy costs
- Increased reliability
- Avoidance of costly power outages and production downtime
- Long lifecycle capital equipment
- Reliable predictability of future operating costs, while removing or minimizing the impact of external geopolitics, public policy decisions and economic forces on operating budgets
- Consumption of almost zero water resources in electricity generation. A typical coal fired power plant uses 0.2 to 0.6 gallons of water for each kWh produced. (EPRI, Water and Sustainability: U.S. Water Consumption for Power Production – The Next Half Century)
- Cost-effective way to add new electric generating capacity
- Reduced production of pollutants. The EPA estimates “CHP can reduce GHGs (greenhouse gases) and other air pollutants by 40 percent or more”
- Reduced grid congestion
- Improved electric distribution system reliability
This cleanroom tip was taken from “Energy Matters: Combined Heat and Power 101” by Michael Chonko, PE, CEM. The article originally appeared in the November/December 2015 issue of Controlled Environments.