Some hospitals in Italy are responding to the European Union’s continuing campaign to encourage industries to expand their use of combined heat and power technologies to improve local energy efficiency and air quality by installing new onsite cogeneration plants. As well as helping to reduce their respective carbon footprints, these installations have the effect of enhancing local energy security by reducing the hospitals’ dependence on the regional grid.

Four hospitals in four Italian cities recently signed contracts to install GE’s Jenbacher cogeneration systems in the expectation of impoving their fuel efficiency and operational costs, adding to a total of 34 hospitals in Padova, Varese and Brindisi and other cities that have installed Jenbacher cogeneration gas engines.

The four hospitals planning to install the new CHP systems are located in Alessandria, Milan, Cuneo and Conegliano (Treviso). As a result of the hospital group heating projects, these cities will benefit from a total displacement of the equivalent of 20 000 tons of carbon dioxide every year.

‘District heating technology is widely employed in Northern Europe and has spread throughout Italy in the last few years,’ said Mario Artoni, general manager in Italy for GE Power & Water’s Jenbacher gas engines. ‘Because the costs and reliability of energy are major concerns for hospitals, onsite CHP systems play a fundamental role by increasing energy efficiency and security while reducing the release of environmentally damaging exhaust gases.’

The new hospital CHP contracts called for GE to supply two 1.1 MW J416 gas engines for the Hospital of Alessandria to supply energy and heat for the 650-bed facility, the system starting up at the end of October 2009; one 600 kW J312 Jenbacher engine to begin operating at the Hospital of Conegliano (Treviso), which holds approximately 400 beds, in Q1 or Q2 2010; two 1.4 MW, J420 units to be installed at the Fondazione Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena in Milan, the system to begin operating by the end of 2010; and one

1 MW, J320 engine for the Azienda Ospedaliera S. Croce e Carle of Cuneo.

Overall, more than 900 Jenbacher natural gas, biogas and industrial waste gas-fired units have been delivered in Italy, where they are popular for their durability, reliability, fuel flexibility and versatility.

• The same cogeneration technology has also been installed on the rooftop of the new office tower for Deutsche Börse Group in Eschborn, near Frankfurt, Germany. The plant will be fuelled by natural gas. Surplus electricity will be sent to the regional grid. GE supplied two JMS 412 Jenbacher cogeneration modules, scheduled to begin commercial operation in the summer of 2010.

The new power plant will enhance the energy security of operations that play a vital role in supporting Germany’s economy on a daily basis, and is seen as a tangible sign of the progress being made by the country’s business and government sectors to support the EU’s emissions reduction and energy efficiency goals.

The project developer, Groß & Partner and Lang & Cie, in late November last year carried out a ‘topping-out’ rooftop ceremony at the 21-storey building complex with the CHP plant installed. The plant’s two units will provide

1.6 MW of electrical and thermal power to support the building’s operations.

In warmer months, hot water from the cooling circuit of the cogeneration plants will serve as drive energy for two absorption chiller devices. During cold seasons, this thermal power will be utilised to meet the building’s heating requirements.