American Honda headquarters gets mileage with CHP system from Cummins Power Generation
TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA, USA—The campus of American Honda Motor Company's headquarters covers more than 100 acres, and includes 12 buildings with nearly 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use office space for approximately 3,000 workers. Honda is a company dedicated to environmental responsibility, and that dedication extends to its operations and facilities.
American Honda established the ability to generate its own electricity for its campus at a lower cost, both fiscally and environmentally, using natural gas. After researching generating systems from several manufacturers, American Honda selected a combined heat and power (CHP) system from Cummins Power Generation Inc. American Honda will save more than 30 percent in on-campus energy expenditures each year.
Cummins Cal Pacific, the local distributor for Cummins Power Generation, recommended a CHP system based on one of its most popular natural-gas engine generator systems. According to Herman Van Niekerk of Cummins Cal Pacific, "CHP systems consist of a generator set, heat recovery equipment and control systems. They produce electricity and heat from a single source of energy—usually natural gas. The heat produced can be used for space heating/cooling or for making process hot water, cold water or steam."
The CHP system is installed in American Honda's central plant building, which houses the other mechanical systems for the campus. Currently, the CHP system supplies 100 percent of the electrical needs of the central plant building for most of the year, but the cold water from the chiller is circulated throughout the entire 12-building campus for air conditioning.
Sellers says the CHP system operates only during the daytime for now, but American Honda will run the system 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in phase two of the project when two more buildings will be fed from the generator. The campus has a total electrical
load of 5.2 MW, and with the addition of the CHP system that runs only during business hours, utility power consumption decreased 14 percent during the first year of operation.
"When we first looked at this project, the key was to do away with kW demand costs from the utility," says Sellers. "However, we found we could add the absorption chiller and supply 95–100 percent of the power needed for the central plant. This significantly increased the return on investment. The CHP system has thus far met, and in some cases exceeded, our expectations," Sellers concludes.
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