The Application of Combined Heat and Power Systems at U.S. Air Force Installations

Open Access
Wyatt, Lawrence James
Graduate Program:
Architectural Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 07, 2011
Committee Members:
  • James Freihaut, Thesis Advisor
  • cogeneration
  • combined heat and power
  • application
U.S. Air Force installations are a critical element of U.S. national defense located throughout the United States. These bases are part of the commercial/institutional building sector, and are similar to college campuses and small cities. This research investigates the applicability of combined heat and power systems at U.S. Air Force bases. Published studies shows a high compatibility between U.S. Air Force bases and combined heat and power systems, but the technical and economic issues unique to military applications are not well-characterized. Federal, DoD and U.S. Air Force energy policies require drastic improvement in energy efficiency and environmental impact while implementing new energy sources to meet published goals. Combined heat and power application at U.S. Air Force bases is analyzed with these considerations using three methods to further characterize the potential to utilize these systems. This thesis develops and applies a methodology to evaluate the technical and economic applicability of combined heat and power systems at U.S. Air Force bases. Results show that 38 bases within the U.S. have favorable economic conditions to use combined heat and power. An in-depth study at five bases using monthly utility data shows combined heat and power is a feasible alternative that can provide increased energy security, reduced emissions, and an increase in source-based energy efficiency when utility pricing is favorable. A technical application study is performed at Hill AFB using hourly data and a truncated-year analysis to further characterize site-specific applications factors for these systems. Finally, applicable energy mandates and goals for the U.S. Air Force are reviewed to establish the climate for combined heat and power systems. Ultimately, the author proposes a change in U.S. Air Force policy to address the energy source-based efficiency and savings possible by utilizing combined heat and power systems.