City, UNL partner on Innovation Campus renewable energy system

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City, UNL partner on Innovation Campus renewable energy system

Nebraska Innovation Campus in September 2013. (Craig Chandler, University Communications)

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler and UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman announced Sept. 27 a joint project to use reclaimed, non-drinkable water from the city’s Theresa Street Wastewater treatment plant to heat and cool facilities at Nebraska Innovation Campus.

UNL’s investment of $12 million in the Central Renewable Energy System, or CRES, has been approved by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents and will be introduced to the Lincoln City Council on Sept. 30.

The reclaimed water from the city’s Theresa Street Wastewater Treatment Plant will be diverted to a heat exchange facility located on Nebraska Innovation Campus. The reclaimed water will then return to Salt Creek. A closed-loop, similar to a geothermal heat pump system, will be installed to serve the individual buildings. Depending on the season, heat content will either be absorbed or rejected to provide heating and cooling energy to Nebraska Innovation Campus. This system can provide capacity for up to an estimated 1.8 million square feet of space.

“Over the last several years, the City of Lincoln has strived to become known as a good steward of our environment,” Beutler said. “The Central Renewable Energy System is a very unique arrangement that should have broad appeal to private businesses who embrace renewable energy and sustainability. We are pleased to be able to partner with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to make this project a reality.”

“The construction of Innovation Campus should be innovative and sustainable,” Perlman said. “This unique technology demonstrates our commitment to both.”

“This central renewable energy system serving Nebraska Innovation Campus is one of only a few such systems in the world,” Nebraska Innovation Campus Executive Director Dan Duncan said. “We are demonstrating our commitment to innovation as well as to the environment.”

The system is scheduled to be in operation next spring or summer. Olsson Associates is the engineering firm on the project.

An illustration of how the renewable energy system will work at Nebraska Innovation Campus.

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