Project Merit: Low-Carbon Energy

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Stanford University for its Stanford Energy Systems Innovations (SESI) project which replaces the university's gas-fired combined heat and power central plant-once considered the best option for campus electricity and heating-with a $485 million district energy system that uses hot water instead of steam. In a deal with SunPower, the campus will also deploy over 70 MW of solar PV capacity, 68 MW off campus. Under construction since 2013, SESI is expected to be complete in 2016.

SESI will capture waste heat from evaporative cooling towers using three 2,500-ton heat recovery chillers and use three 60,000 pound gas-fired hot water generators to meet winter peak heating loads. Also included: 10 million gallons of chilled water tanks and 2 million gallons of hot water tanks providing thermal energy storage, which Stanford will use-along with controls and predictive analytics software co-developed with Johnson Controls-to operate in California wholesale electricity markets.

In addition to Johnson Controls, SESI was developed with help from consulting firms Affiliated Engineers, COWI (Denmark) and FVB (Sweden). Jacobs Carter Burgess, Enginomix, Black & Veatch and Navigant provided peer reviews.