A NASA campus powered by combined heat and power (CHP) with the ability to operate as a microgrid
NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, has been a hub for human spaceflight for more than 50 years. It’s home to International Space Station mission operations, training for astronauts, and more. And as such an important hub for a wide selection of programs and missions, its power reliability is critical. This led to the development of a combined heat and power (CHP) plant project and the creation of a facility-wide critical power microgrid.
Our job? Providing owner’s engineering services and leading the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) interconnection application and coordination effort for the combined cycle power plant. The system was comprised of two gas turbines and a backpressure steam turbine, which are used to offset electrical power needs in parallel with the main utility grid. If the public grid has trouble, NASA can separate the entire campus power system from the utility and use the generators to supply power to the critical JSC building loads.
Using a manually-initiated transition to and from an islanded operation, the new NASA CHP plant can operate on its own even if public grid service is interrupted. This means more reliability and safety for NASA’s spacefaring mission operations.
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