UI Cogeneration Turbine

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UI Steam Plant
Sponsors :
  • UI Facilities
  • Industrial Assessment Center
Team Name : UI Steam Power
Academic Year : Fall 2013 - Spring 2014
Faculty Advisors :
Consultants :
Team Members :
  • Ryan Oliver
  • Chad Dunkel
  • Chris Anderson
  • Donald Haines

Team UI Cogeneration is performing a feasibility study on the implementation of a cogeneration turbine at the University of Idaho Steam Plant. The turbine would use excess steam to create electricity for the grid.


The University of Idaho Steam Plant first started operating in 1940 with 1 original boiler. The steam plants main purpose is to provide steam for heating and cooling inside the buildings on campus. As the load got higher, 3 more boilers were installed on site to help maintain the constant pressure and flow needed for the campus. The primary boiler used today is the wood boiler. It was installed in 1985 and can run a flow rate of up to 60,000 lb/hr. The highest school load recorded was ~85,000 lb/hr, therefore the other 3 boilers are natural gas fueled and are used at load amounts that exceed the capacity of the wood boiler.

Feasibility Analysis Specifications

  • Electrical load profiling
  • Thermal load profiling
  • New utility rate structure analysis
  • Unit sizing
  • Thermal use determination/distribution system analysis
  • Installation cost estimates
  • Permitting impacts
  • Utility interconnection requirements
  • Financial calculations(simple payback, IRR, Cash Flow Diagrams)
  • Presentation of six design/construction models to client
  • Fully develop client design preference

Current System Model

UI Steam Plant Current System

The Current System Model is broken up into 7 stages.

  • Boilers
  • Pressure Reducing Valves
  • Condenser(Campus)
  • Condensate Tank
  • Condensate Pumps
  • Dearator Tank
  • Feedwater Pumps

Model Options

Turbine Model Description
Simple Turbine Model This Turbine option will consist of 1 turbine that runs alongside the current PRV's. It can operate at current system pressures and will generate from 1/2 - 1 MW
Two Turbine Model The first turbine will use steam directly out of the wood boiler with the second turbine down stream of the main header using steam from all boilers.
Plummer Model Non-Superheated This Turbine will condense the steam after it flows through the turbine. It will require a condensing tank and cooling tower.
Plummer Model Superheated The same set up as the Plummer Model, but it includes super-heated steam.
Reheat Two Turbine This generation setup works by recirculating the super-heated steam after it goes through the first turbine back into the boiler and then into the second turbine.
Max Generation Model Includes two turbines, max pressure, super-heated, and reheat turbine system.

EES Verification

EES T-s Diagram
Table of Properties for T-s Diagram

The program Engineering Equation Solver (EES) is used to model the current steam system, and estimate boiler efficiency using inputs of steam generated and fuel usage. EES is further utilized in estimating the isentropic efficiency of several existing turbines at other universities. Finally, it will be used to predict predict power generation of both turbine system models.

Selected Models

Below are the 2 models our client has chosen for us to model and continue looking into for the spring semester of 2014.

Model Diagram Specifications Methodolgy
2014 Cogeneration Simple Turbine Model.jpg
Simple Turbine Model

The simple turbine model is bypassing the existing PRV's with a turbine. Inlet pressures would remain around 130 psi with a campus distribution pressure at 60 psi. For the spring semester, we will be conducting an economic analysis as well as implementation costs for this basic turbine package.

2014 Cogeneration Methodology2.png
2014 Cogeneration Plummer Model (Superheat).jpg
Plummer Superheated Model

The Plummer Superheated model will be analyzed to see if it is a viable option for the University of Idaho. The Plummer Model is a condensing turbine that will require a condenser and cooling tower. It's pros are that it can generate a large amount of power but this comes at a higher need for fuel. Also, the steam in this system will require superheating to get max efficiency from our turbine. Superheating steam will require much more safety and preventative maintenance for the plant as well.

2014 Cogeneration Methodology1.png

Turbine Options

Model A

Turbine Model A

Electrical Specifications

  • Annual Power Generation = 4,200,000 kWh
  • Rated Power = 1187 HP
  • Rated Generator Output = 873 kW/h
  • Rated Steam Flow = 50,000 lb/hr
  • Speed = 3625 rpm

Capital Costs

  • Turbine = $115,138
  • Base,Couplings = $50,000
  • Generator = $40,000
  • Generator Controls/Contactor = $75,000
  • Total Material Cost = $280,138
  • Install Est. = $70,035
  • System Total Capital = $350,173

Model B

Turbine Model B

Turbine Model B was chosen by the client for further investigation.The prices in Turbine B above are more accurate than the estimated prices in Turbine ModelA.

Electrical Specifications

  • Annual Power Generation = 5,300,000 kWh
  • Rated Power = 1390 HP
  • Rated Generator Output = 985 kW/h
  • Rated Steam Flow = 50,000 lb/hr
  • Speed = 3625 rpm

Capital Costs

  • Turbine = $480,000
  • Base,Couplings,Lube System = $85,000
  • Generator = $40,000
  • Generator Controls/Contactor = $75,000
  • 1800 RPM Reduction Gear Adjustment = $315,000
  • Total Material Cost = $1,000,000
  • Install Est. = $250,000
  • System Total Capital = $1,500,000

Economic Analysis

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Team Members

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Picture Bio Discipline
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Chris Anderson
This is Chris Anderson and he is interested in the power side of electrical engineering. Chris grew up in the town of Athol. One morning he woke up and decided he could be an engineer, so he applied at the University of Idaho, got accepted, conquered three years, and now he's almost there. A year ago, Chris started working with the Industrial Assessment Center. It was this job that sparked his interest in energy engineering. Currently,his goal is to become some form of energy efficiency evaluator, so this design project is a helpful step in that direction. That's everything there is to know about Chris Anderson.

Expected Graduation: May 2014

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Ryan Oliver
Personal interests include: home brewing, hunting, and snowboarding.

Ryan came to the University of Idaho, with his wife Kali, as a nontraditional transfer student in 2010. As well as electrical engineering, he is also finishing a degree in philosophy. The decision to pursue an engineering degree developed out of a dissatisfaction with his then career prospects as a telecommunication contractor and a desire to obtain a theoretical background for electrical engineering. For the last two years, Ryan has greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with the University of Idaho Industrial Assessment Center. Working with the UIIAC on energy efficiency audits as well as taking the Lean Manufacturing Course through the Mechanical Engineering Department has provided him with the opportunity to see concepts learned in the class room actually being applied in industry. Upon graduation, Ryan hopes to apply his previous experiences as a residential framing business owner and telecommunications contractor with his newly found skills in electrical engineering and energy efficiency towards a career within both the power engineering /construction fields.

Expected Graduation: August 2014

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Chad Dunkel
Here is Chad Dunkel and he is interested in energy engineering, industrial processes, and industrial waste streams. Chad is currently finishing up his undergraduate degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering with an emphasis on Environmental Engineering. Chad was born and raised in Sandpoint, Idaho and it has always been his goal to pursue a career in engineering. He has also been involved in the University of Idaho Industrial Assessment Center for over two years now. Through the IAC program, Chad has developed an interest in energy engineering for manufacturing, food processing, municipal, and agricultural facilities. It is because of his engineering and IAC background that this project is especially interesting to himself. Performing a feasibility study for a co-generation steam turbine combines engineering, economic, and environmental elements.

Expected Graduation: May 2014

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Donald Haines
The fourth member of the group is Donald Haines. He is interested in the power side of electrical engineering. Donald has interned at Panoche Energy Center in Fresno,CA focusing on learning the full operations at a natural gas plant. His future plans are to continue working in the power industry and become a plant controls operator. Working with the UI Cogeneration group will help him in getting a job on a power plant once he graduates and will also teach him everything he wants to know about cogeneration.

Expected Graduation: May 2014

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Group photo of us inside the University of Idaho's Wood Boiler

Document Archive


Innovation Showcase

Design Review 1

Design Review 2

Team Minutes