Baxter has installed five 35kW Yanmar CHP units, which will allow us to make most of the electricity we use from the natural gas we are burning for heat. This results in lower bills and less environmental impact through energy conservation. It will also improve our disaster resilience, because if the power fails, we can switch the units to stand-alone operation and keep the building running on emergency power indefinitely. Here is a brochure on the units: https://www.controlledair.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/YANMAR-CP35-Brochure-Web.pdf
This technology has been around since the late 70’s in Japan, but it is fairly new to the US. The potential for Southcentral Alaska is particularly good, since we burn a lot of natural gas for heat. Baxter is the fourth customer to deploy these units in Alaska, but the first to use more than one of them.
Yanmar is a global company headquartered in Japan. They are one of the largest manufacturers of agricultural equipment in the world. KI Energy, LLC is a Native Alaskan company and is a subsidiary of Knikatnu Inc (www.ki-energyak.com). They are the Alaska distributor and service provider for Yanmar’s CHP systems. Tom Harris is the visionary leader there who saw the potential for these systems in Alaska and has been promoting them for years. I am very hopeful that Baxter’s experience will help pave the way for broader adoption of the technology. Broader adoption would be a win-win-win for our economy, our environment, and our disaster resilience.
This project was made possible by the Alaska Energy Authority. Baxter registered as an Independent Power Producer (or “Qualifying Facility”) with FERC (the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission), which allowed us to borrow low-interest funds through AEA’s Power Producers Fund (PPF). We were able to create a debt package where the payments were significantly lower than the projected energy savings (3.1%, 20-year amortization, 10% down). With estimated savings of $165,000 per year and debt service of $62,000 per year, the value to a commercial building owner should be obvious. SafeTWay Electric and Slayden Plumbing and Heating did the work to integrate the units into our building and the Chugach Electric system, and should really be in a great position to do more installs in the future.