HomeNewsArticle Display

Cogeneration plant supplements power to Hanscom missions

A 4.6-megawatt cogeneration plant produces steam over Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Nov. 15 following a renovation headed by the 66th Civil Engineering Division. The plant uses a natural gas-fired turbine to produce electricity, which increases the installation's energy resilience. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

A 4.6-megawatt cogeneration plant produces steam over Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass., Nov. 15 following a renovation headed by the 66th Civil Engineering Division. The plant uses a natural gas-fired turbine to produce electricity, which increases the installation's energy resilience. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mark Herlihy)

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – Hanscom civil engineers completed construction of a 4.6-megawatt cogeneration plant here earlier this year. 

Engineering officials say the plant not only increases the installation’s energy resilience, but will deliver $94 million in savings over the life of the contract.

“The completion of this project marks the end of almost a decade of planning, design and construction efforts by so many people in CE,” said David Wong, 66th Civil Engineering Division chief of Engineering. “The renovation represents the single largest improvement to Hanscom’s energy resilience posture.”  

Hanscom’s cogeneration plant uses a natural gas-fired turbine to produce electricity. This process results in a large amount of waste heat that is used to produce steam to heat buildings on base.

Wong said Hanscom was able to connect to an inter-state gas pipeline that runs through the installation. This pipeline and subsequent connection was critical to being able to provide the high-pressure gas needed to power the cogeneration turbine.

“In addition to the cost savings from electricity and steam production, the Air Force will save even more through a reduction in demand charges paid to the local utility company,” said Wong. “Cogeneration also provides resilient power to the base in the event of a failure of the local power grid. Although we cannot power the entire base, we will be able to support critical missions.”

In 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, on behalf of the 66 CED, awarded a $39 million energy savings performance contract that included the construction of the cogeneration plant, replacement of over 10,000 fluorescent light fixtures with high efficiency LED fixtures, and replacement of aging heating equipment with natural gas-fired equipment in base buildings. 

The plant officially came online in March of this year, and Wong said the installation is already seeing benefits.

“Over the life of this contract, we will save approximately $3 million a year in energy costs and Hanscom will be able to reduce energy consumption,” he said.