Erlanger Health System is building a new $13 million Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility on site to bring major energy cost savings, cleaner air and more reliable power.
To help pay for the project, Erlanger will be the recipient of a $6.75 million TVA grant.
John Loetscher, vice president for Erlanger facilities, engineering and real estate, said the project should have a payback of just under four years on Erlanger's $6.25 million investment. Erlanger is taking its share from an existing bank line of credit at a low interest rate.
The project includes three modular natural gas reciprocating engine units sized at two MW each for a total of six MW. The units will generate electricity for the hospital's use. The heat generated from the engines as a by-product will be captured and used to displace natural gas consumed by the steam boilers in the existing central energy plant. All heat for the campus is now generated by the four boilers in the central energy plant.
In the new system, there will be "one single fuel source."
Mr. Loetscher said there is much energy loss with the current system, including pollutants going into the air. He said switching to the new plant "will be like taking 2,000 cars off the roads of Chattanooga."
He noted that TVA still gets 53 percent of its energy from coal-fired plants and is under a mandate to find cleaner sources. TVA says it is down to 34 percent coal use.
The new plant will be next to the central energy plant at the rear of the hospital.
Erlanger will partner with a design team to design and construct the new plant.
The operation and maintenance of the new equipment will be out-sourced to a third party "to reduce the need for additional staff, the development of new operating procedures, and to mitigate the risk of not meeting TVA's performance requirements," it was stated.
The design and construction of the new power plant will take approximately two years.