Sus·tain·able - of, relating to, or being
a method of harvesting or using a resource
so that the resource is not depleted
or permanently damaged.
~Merriam Webster's dictionary

Sustainability is providing for the needs of the present in a way that does not adversely affect the future's ability to provide for those needs when their time comes. It is about taking responsibility for the future that we leave our children.

~ Northern Development

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For mode than 15 years HARBEC in Ontario, NY, has been researching and developing a plan that would help the company become more efficient and more ecologically correct. One part of the solution the company has adopted is called cogeneration, a highly efficient means of generating heat and electric power simultaneously from the same energy source. In other words, the exhaust heat from generating electricity replaces fossil fuel (oil, coal, or natural gas) combustion. This is heat that would normally be discharged into lakes and rivers or the atmosphere in the current process of traditional utility power generation. Also referred to as combined heat and power (CHP), Cogen offers the potential to reach efficiencies that triple, or even quadruple, conventional power generation. Although it has been a possibility for nearly a century, in the mid-1980's relatively low natural gas prices made it a widely attractive alternative for new power generation. To understand cogeneration, it is necessary to know that most conventional power generation is based on burning a fuel to produce steam. It is the pressure of the steam that actually turns the turbines and generates power, in an inherently inefficient process. Cogeneration, in contrast, makes use of the excess heat, usually in the form of relatively low-temperature steam exhausted from the power generation turbines. Such steam is suitable for a wide range of heating applications and effectively displaces the combustion of carbon-based fuels, with all their negative environmental implications. The heat potential can also be used to air condition with the help of absorptive chiller technology. The environmental implications of cogeneration stem not just from its inherent efficiency, but also from its decentralized character. Because it is impractical to transport heat over any distance, cogeneration equipment must be located physically close to its heat user. A number of environmentally positive consequences flow from this fact. Power tends to be generated close to the power consumer, significantly reducing transmission losses, stray current, and the need for distribution equipment. In recent years new methods of using this Cogen/CHP potential have been developing. HARBEC's application uses Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to run Capstone micro turbine generators, which produce electricity used to operate their molding company. The hot exhaust from these micro turbines is directed to a heat exchanger, which is able to transfer the heat to water. The hot water is then used to heat the building through radiant in-floor heating systems and through pre-existing forced air systems. During the summer, the hot water is sent to an absorptive chiller, which uses heat to create cold water for air-conditioning.

CHP represents an opportunity to make significant progress toward meeting our Kyoto commitments on greenhouse gas reductions. The local air quality improvement and opportunities for economic growth presented by CHP are equally compelling. CHP presents an opportunity to improve the "bottom line" for businesses and public organizations, while also providing a path for improving the environment. HARBEC believes the private sector should actively pursue adoption of CHP - both for " bottom-line" economic and environmental benefits.

Northern Development, LLC.
369 Route 104
Ontario, NY 14519-8999
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