December 21, 2017

Eastern Michigan University ready to launch new co-generation turbine that will provide more than 90 percent of the University's electricity and heat

Will reduce annual carbon footprint by more than 21 tons, annual energy costs by nearly $3 million

YPSILANTI --  Eastern Michigan University is nearing completion of the installation of a new energy saving 55-ton turbine known as a co-generation unit that will generate approximately 98 percent of the heat and 93 percent of the electricity to Eastern's campus. The new unit is scheduled to begin producing electricity and heat to Eastern's campus in late January/early February. Co-generation is a combined heat and power system that uses natural gas to simultaneously produce electricity and steam heat. 

The new turbine was installed on June 8, 2017. At a project cost of $19.6 million, it replaced a 29-year-old co-generation unit that ceased operations in April 2016. The previous unit supplied about 50 percent of electricity and heat.

The new co-generator will result in an annual reduction of 21,305 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), equivalent to:

  • 78.2 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle; or,
  • Preservation of 260 acres of forests.
  • Project will reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by an estimated 112 tons annually, decreasing potential effects of acid rain.

The project will achieve annual net energy savings to the University of more than $2.8 million.

Eastern has partnered with OpTerra Energy Services, based in Oakland, Calif., on the project. OpTerra's past work with Eastern has included assistance in facility upgrades in residence and dining areas that have helped the University meet its environmental and energy-savings objectives. 

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

Contact Geoff Larcom,, 734.487.4401

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