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The University Power Plant: A Readily Accessible Remote Learning Platform

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1258.1 - 15.1258.4



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Paper Authors

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F. Carl Knopf Louisiana State University

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Kerry Dooley Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

The University Power Plant: A Readily Accessible Remote Learning Platform


Combined heat and power (CHP) or cogeneration is critical to the economic viability of many industries, including fuels, chemicals, plastics, paper, and ferrous and nonferrous metals. U.S. investment in new CHP is expected to remain >$10 billion/yr, and there are many ongoing CHP systems that can realize substantial dollar savings through optimal energy management schemes.

CHP systems provide an excellent platform for students to study thermodynamics, certain unit operations and process design principals, optimization, data reconciliation, and emissions control. Even better, many Universities have ready (albeit remote) access to such a system on their own campus. At LSU, we are opening our newer (commissioned 2005, 20 MW, $20 MM) cogeneration system to the world of engineering education through real-time data delivery using formats which can communicate with virtually any control/data acquisition system and then broadcast compressed data via the net. Easy to use (from Excel) education modules have been developed which make use of these data to teach the above-mentioned topics in classes ranging from introductory Sophomore-level to capstone design.

Curriculum Enhancement through Cogeneration Educational Modules

We have developed educational modules based on cogeneration that can be integrated throughout the Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering curricula. The cogeneration system is an ideal means of establishing an energy thread in Engineering curricula, in both lecture and lab courses. The six currently available modules include: for the Sophomore or Junior Years, ideal gas performance (IGP); for the Junior Year data reconciliation (DR) and real- gas performance (RGP); for the Senior Year numerical modeling of heat transfer (HT), levelized economics (LE), and cogeneration system optimal design (OD). For each module we developed a 15–20 page manual including background and problem details. The manuals, which are posted on our web site web site, also serve as the basis for a one hour lecture on each topic.

Sophomore / Junior Years: For the first thermodynamics course in ChE and ME we provide a module (IGP) which uses ideal gas calculations to predict cogeneration performance, including the air cooler, air compressor, combustion chamber, turbines, and heat recovery steam generator (HRSG). This module naturally follows the traditional heat and power discussion of first thermodynamics courses. The performance of the LSU system, as determined from ideal gas calculations, is compared to actual data and simulation results from commercial packages including GateCycle and IPSEpro. Students are encouraged to visit the web site to obtain their own real time data for the cogeneration system. The calculations detailed in the written module are also provided as an Excel solution file. A typical assignment is to predict the performance of an air-preheat system – air from the compressor, prior to the combustion chamber, is cross-heat exchanged with exhaust gas from the power turbine. This introduces the complication that the energy balance on the heat exchanger cannot be closed without results from the power turbine. We provide an Excel file for the air-preheat

Knopf, F. C., & Dooley, K. (2010, June), The University Power Plant: A Readily Accessible Remote Learning Platform Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16561

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