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Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW), Microturbine Generator & Heat Recovery System at PGW Headquarters

PGW approached Burns with a concept to install an innovative Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system at their headquarters building in Philadelphia. This CHP system would demonstrate small-scale electrical generation that’s clean, affordable, uses natural gas, applies exhaust heat recovery, and has efficiency twice that of traditional electrical generation and delivery. Burns’ challenge was to determine what scale of CHP system could effectively be developed and implemented to meet PGW’ criteria, and be declared an economical and environmental success.

Burns designed and integrated a four-part system to provide supplemental power, heating and cooling for PGW’s 180,000 square foot building, including:

  • 200kw natural gas fired micro-turbine generator, which provides 40% of peak power demand
  • Heat Recovery Module to capture 700 MBH of heat that is normally wasted by a generator
  • 40 Ton absorption chiller, which produces “free cooling” from recovered waste heat
  • Control system to effectively integrate the CHP system into the building’s existing electrical, heating and cooling systems

Burns provided innovative ideas and engineering solutions to design a system that successfully:

  • Demonstrates the strong potential for small-scale cogeneration to provide clean, efficient power to the average commercial building
  • Allows for the effective and sustainable use of Pennsylvania’s natural gas resources
  • Serves as an important teaching tool capable of capturing the interest of potential future engineers

With its successful implementation, this project achieved its objectives of reducing PGW’s annual energy costs by $130,000, while demonstrating the promise for CHP systems to produce clean, efficient power.

This project was one of 14 in Pennsylvania that was recognized with a 2012 American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania Diamond Award for Engineering Excellence.


Philadelphia, PA


Philadelphia Gas Works


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