PGW microturbine puts wasted energy to work

The Philadelphia Gas Works demonstrated new energy-saving equipment at its North Philadelphia headquarters Tuesday.

When electricity is produced from natural gas, a lot of heat is created and lost. PGW’s new microturbine uses natural gas to generate electricity while capturing the heat given off during that process. It’s directed to making hot water and harnessed to run heating and cooling units for the building.

During a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Mayor Michael Nutter noted the significance of the project.

“By producing approximately 40 percent of its energy on-site, PGW will reduce its costs and also reduce its draw from Philadelphia’s electric grid,” said Nutter. “Moreover the company will also decrease any harmful emissions in the region.”

The project, funded with federal stimulus money through the state Department of Environmental Protection, was also meant to serve as a model. City Councilwoman Marian Tasco Tuesday urged other large energy customers in the audience, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Temple University, to follow PGW’s lead.

“We want you to buy one for your own,” she said.

The microturbine project is part of a larger PGW program called EnergySense, which is expected to yield further savings for customers and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

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