Italian hospitals turn to cogeneration

MILAN, ITALY - As the European Union continues to encourage industries to expand their use of combined heat and power (CHP) technologies to improve local energy efficiency and air quality, a growing number of hospitals in Italy are doing their part by installing new, onsite cogeneration plants to help reduce their respective carbon footprints.

Cogeneration is a much more efficient method of generating electricity and heat compared to the use of separate electrical and thermal systems, resulting in substantial savings on energy costs. By producing power more efficiently, cogeneration also helps reduce the use of fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases.

Four hospitals in four Italian cities recently signed contracts to install GE’s ecomagination-approved Jenbacher cogeneration systems to improve their energy efficiency and reduce their operational costs. Recognizing the advantages of CHP, a total of 34 hospitals in Padova, Varese and Brindisi and other cities in Italy have installed Jenbacher cogeneration gas engines.

The four hospitals planning to install the new CHP systems are located in Alessandria, Milan, Cuneo and Conegliano (Treviso). As a result of the hospital district heating projects, these cities will benefit from a total displacement of the equivalent of 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year.

GE’s Jenbacher CHP systems also enhance local energy security and patient care by reducing the hospitals’ dependence on the regional grid.

“District heating technology is widely used in Northern Europe and has spread throughout Italy in the last few years,” said Mario Artoni, general manager — Italy for GE Power & Water’s Jenbacher gas engines. “Because the costs and reliability of energy are major concerns for hospitals, onsite CHP systems play a fundamental role by increasing energy efficiency and security while reducing the release of environmentally damaging exhaust gases.”

The new hospital CHP contracts call for GE to supply:

• Two 1.1-megawatt (MW), J416 Jenbacher gas engines for the Hospital of Alessandria. The engines will power a system able to supply energy and heat for the 650-bed facility. The system started working at the end of October.

• One 600 kilowatt (kW), J312 Jenbacher engine for the Hospital of Conegliano (Treviso), which holds approximately 400 beds. The system will begin operating in early 2010.

• Two 1.4-MW, J420 units will be installed at the Fondazione Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Mangiagalli e Regina Elena in Milan. The system will begin operating by the end of 2010.

• One 1-MW, J320 Jenbacher engine for the Azienda Ospedaliera S. Croce e Carle of Cuneo.

“Providing energy while reducing the risks of climate change through the use of district heating systems enables end-users to lower their maintenance expenses and improve their overall operational management due to a stabilization of energy costs,” GE’s Artoni added. “Both energy efficiency and good governance are objectives that hospitals in particular must pursue.”

Overall, GE already has delivered more than 900 Jenbacher natural gas, biogas and industrial waste gas-fired units in Italy, where they are popular for their extreme durability, reliability, fuel flexibility and usefulness for many different purposes, including CHP.

GE’s portfolio of Jenbacher cogeneration systems have been designated as ecomagination products. Ecomagination is GE’s corporate-wide initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that will help customers meet pressing operational and environmental challenges.


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