Energy Production

Combined Heat and Power System

The University of Iowa’s main campus and the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics complex are served by a large district energy system. Energy Production involves production of steam, electric power, and chilled water at central utility plants for distribution to buildings through a network of underground pipes and electric cables. The University of Iowa Power Plant, located at the corner of the Iowa River and Burlington St., is a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) facility. Fuels burned at the Power Plant include coal, natural gas, and oat hulls. The plant co-generates about 30-percent of the total electric power needs and produces all the steam energy used throughout the campus and hospital facilities.

CHP, also known as co-generation, is an efficient, clean, and reliable approach to generating power and thermal energy from a single fuel source. CHP is not a specific technology but an application of technologies to meet an energy user's needs. CHP systems achieve typical effective electric efficiencies of 50% to 70% — a dramatic improvement over the average efficiency of separate heat and power. Since CHP is highly efficient, it reduces traditional air pollutants and carbon dioxide, the leading greenhouse gas associated with climate change, as well.

CHP PartnershipThe University of Iowa is a member of the United States Environmental Protection Agency CHP Partnership. The CHP Partnership is a voluntary program that seeks to reduce the environmental impact of power generation by promoting the use of CHP.