UM BWMC Unveils New Environmentally Friendly Power Plant
GLEN BURNIE, MD – University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) recently became one of the first health care institutions in Maryland, and the only one in Anne Arundel County, to install a new cogeneration power plant that will significantly reduce emissions and cut energy costs. The medical center hopes other health care facilities and businesses in Maryland follow suit.
"It allows us to be cleaner, greener and more efficient," said UM BWMC director of facilities Andrew Brumfield, and Earl Burke, UM BWMC engineering manager, who helped oversee the project. “A new power plant such as this one creates a more reliable environment for patient care.
Cogeneration power plants make electricity that allows waste heat to be repurposed, which is a byproduct of creating the electricity. That electricity is then used to run everything from lights to machines in the operating rooms, while the waste heat is used for the many heating needs of the facility year round. Instead of burning diesel fuel to make electricity, UM BWMC's new system is powered by natural gas, making it more environmentally friendly. This green energy is then used to power the medical center. In the winter, UM BWMC requires about 2.7 megawatts and, in the summer, that nearly doubles to about 5.5 megawatts.
This new system also provides UM BWMC with more reliable energy in times of need. The cogeneration plant can be used as a backup along with the medical center's emergency generators which means UM BWMC can comfortably and confidently care for patients during natural disasters. And because natural gas comes from the ground, wind, sleet and snow can't knock out the supply.
"UM BWMC invested in this new technology not only to help improve our campus, but the surrounding community as well," said Brumfield. "By relying on a cogeneration plant along with diesel fueled generators, UM BWMC is able to reduce its consumption of fossil fuels and, in turn, the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from the medical center that are released into the atmosphere."
The cogeneration plant officially came on-line in January. The plant installation took 14 months to complete at a cost of $8 million. UM BWMC expects to save more than $750,000 per year in energy costs with the new system.
The medical center will unveil the plant at the medical center's annual Earth Day fair on Friday, April 21, which is open to the public.