Environmentally Friendly ‘Cogen’ Plant Will Fuel Medical Center
While the Patient Pavilion under construction on New Scotland Avenue will enhance the care Albany Med delivers to patients, a second construction project nearing completion will enhance the environment by powering the Medical Center with state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient technology.
Albany Med is the first hospital in the region to install a cogeneration plant, one that not only efficiently generates power and reduces emissions but also uses the heat that is typically lost or wasted by conventional power plants.
Because it is so efficient, the new system will deliver enormous cost savings over time. The plant is expected to pay for itself within seven years and to save Albany Med nearly $70 million over the next 20 years.
“It’s a win-win proposition for both Albany Med and the environment,” said Emilio Genzano, assistant vice president of engineering and construction.
Genzano said the “cogen” plant, which is now in the final test phase, is designed to reduce emissions to a minimum by channeling exhaust from the turbines through a cleansing stack.
Fueled by natural gas, the plant will produce electricity to power all systems throughout the medical center. The waste heat will be recycled and used to create steam for sterilization and hot water. It will provide 80 percent of the Medical Center’s power needs in the winter and 50 percent in the summer.
Supported by a $2 million grant from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the 20,000-square-foot, 4.6 megawatt plant is located behind the Medical College along Myrtle Avenue.
One advantage of having an on-site cogen plant is that less energy is lost because it is distributed right here at the Medical Center, rather than being transmitted from a centralized power plant a long distance away, Genzano said.
“Whether it’s through our numerous recycling programs or building this plant, Albany Med is committed to doing our part to preserve our environment,” he said.