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Case Studies: Cogeneration - Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

Publish Date: 2/13/03
Location: Chicago, IL

Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry installed a 1.75-megawatt cogeneration system aimed at providing heat, power, and dehumidification to the museum. The system, comprised of a Cummins Inc. QSV91GB lean-burn reciprocating engine-generator set and a Munters AM30N-S Drycool desiccant dehumidification unit, can pull moisture from 10,000 cubic feet of air per minute. It will operate approximately 3,380 hours per year.

The Cummins generator-set system will provide electric power as well as high-pressure steam (produced from the engine jacket water and engine exhaust), which will be fed into the museum's existing steam header. The electrical generator will be connected in parallel with the Commonwealth Edison Company's electrical grid and will operate as a peak-shaving system. The Munters unit will condition building air by removing moisture during summer months using a desiccant wheel and by preheating incoming air during winter months. The Munters unit uses steam produced by the heat from the Cummins generator-set.

In operation since 1933, the museum is the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and is one of Chicago's largest tourist attractions. It is among the seven most visited in the United States; nearly 400,000 children (school groups and youth organizations) visited in 2000.