University Power Plant
Utilities & Energy Management
Utilities & Energy Management is responsible for the Power Plant, Chilled Water Plant, Water Plant, district energy (co-generation), energy conservation initiatives, energy management tools and monitoring, and renewable energy.
- Biomass conversion: the Power Plant retrofitted one coal-fired boiler to burn oat hulls from Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids, reducing fuel costs and emissions. Annual savings is $670,000.
- Power Plant improvements to increase efficiency, including heat recovery and improving the efficiency of turbine generators, are saving an estimated $1.14 million a year.
- Chilled water improvements. Central chilled water is very efficient compared to many smaller chillers. By increasing the efficiency of how buildings use chilled water, the UI is saving $367,000 a year.
- Energy audits provide a detailed analysis of how energy is used in a building, offering opportunities for learning how to reduce energy consumption. This program is saving $1.8 million a year.
The University of Iowa operates and maintains a central Power Plant, three Chilled Water Plants and a Water Plant on the main campus and satellite facilities at the UI Research Park (Oakdale Campus). The plants provide steam, water, high-quality water, chilled water, electricity and sewer to the entire campus, including The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
Co-generation - Combined Heat and Power
The University of Iowa has operated a co-generation plant at its current location since 1926. Within its combined heat and power production cycle, and use of biomass fuels, the University of Iowa is able to co-generate energy for cost-effective electricity, cooling and water treatment on campus. Combined Heat and Power
UI Power Plant Brochure (pdf)
The UI Power Plant contains the following equipment:
- 6 Boilers - capacity totaling 660,000 lbs/hr of steam
- 3 Turbine Generators - totaling 24.7 megawatts
The University of Iowa Power Plant has an innovative partnership with Quaker Oats on the biomass fuel project. The University uses a biomass material, oat hulls, produced by the Cedar Rapids, IA Quaker Oats facility. About 60 tons of discarded oat hulls from Quaker Oats are delivered daily to the UI Power Plant. The organic material is burned with coal to produce energy.
It converts the following raw materials
- 93,000 tons of coal
- 36,000 tons of oat hulls
- 261 million cubic feet of natural gas
- 9,000 tons of limestone
- 49,375,000 gallons of potable water
into energy directly consumed by the campus as follows:
- 75,000,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity
- 2,288,000 MMBtu of steam
Electric generation currently supplies between a quarter and a third of electric demand on campus.
Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant
The Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant is a project under consideration for constructing and operating an energy plant using alternative and renewable energy sources such as biomass, landfill gas, anaerobic digester methane, and gasifier syngas. Oakdale Renewable Energy Plant
The Chilled Water Utility has 15 chillers and 2 absorption units, exceeding 40,000 tons of cooling capacity for the UI Campus. Chilled Water
The University of Iowa is one of only a handful of Universities that also operates it’s own Water Plant. In addition to providing a cost-effective source of water for the campus, it also serves as an important teaching facility for future engineers and water treatment specialists. The Water Plant uses 3,800 MMBtu of steam and 2,200,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity to purify and distribute 900 million gallons of water annually. Water Plant
Mechanical Distribution maintains all of the University's steam, chilled water and domestic water piping. In addition to these systems. Electrical Distribution maintains most of the high voltage equipment on campus. Distribution Systems
The Utility Enterprise is a recharge cost center that sells energy and services to the campus to fund its zero-profit budget. In addition to the steam, electricity and water produced by the above facilities, the Utility Enterprise also distributes 285,000,000 kilowatt-hours of purchased electricity and sends 534,000 ccf of wastewater to the City of Iowa City.
Utility customers for the main campus include General Fund buildings, Residence Services, Athletics, and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, paying according to usage.
Facilities Management employs a comprehensive set of energy management tools to increase efficiency and productivity while reducing costs. Energy Management