Meet UBC’s new cogeneration engine

UBC’s replacement cogeneration engine, the Jenbacher J-612 arrived in its new home inside the Bioenergy Research Demonstration Facility (BRDF) engine room on April 6, 2023, and is being commissioned for operation in May 2023.

The new engine, despite being smaller than the original, will provide the same electrical power output while reducing our greenhouse gas emissions as it runs on 33% Renewable Natural Gas.

Running since 2012, the original J-620 engine reached its end-of-life last summer after 60,000 hours in operation and was replaced with a 6% more efficient model. The new model also boasts half the concentration of nitrogen oxides, keeping UBC’s airshed clean.

Through a Load Displacement Agreement set to expire in 2030, BC Hydro will pay UBC for every kWh produced. UBC is the largest public sector, single-site emitter of greenhouse gases in BC, and BC Hydro’s second-largest customer.

Cogeneration, also called ‘combined heat and power’ (CHP), is an industrial process where thermal energy (steam and hot water) from an engine, usually lost to the environment, is captured and used — greatly improving energy efficiency. The cogeneration module at the BRDF produces electricity (1.95 megawatts) and heat (1.9 megawatts) for the UBC Vancouver campus.