Duke Energy, Purdue University collaborate on new, efficient energy source

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  • New plant expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

PLAINFIELD AND WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A new, efficient source of power for Duke Energy’s Indiana customers and Purdue University is now operating.

The Duke Energy Combined Heat and Power Plant at Purdue University is a 16-megawatt natural gas-powered plant on the southern edge of the university’s West Lafayette campus.

Built, owned and operated by Duke Energy, the plant produces electricity for the company’s customers and is a new source of thermal energy in the form of steam for Purdue’s heating and hot water needs.

“We’re creating a reliable source of steam for Purdue’s power needs and an efficient source of power for our Indiana customers,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Stan Pinegar. “We’ve collaborated with one of our leading customers to add a new, cleaner resource to our generation fleet.”

Efficient, cleaner technology

The plant is a natural gas-fueled facility that generates energy more efficiently. By capturing and utilizing heat that would otherwise be wasted during the production of electricity, combined heat and power plants require less fuel to produce the same amount of total energy. This translates into reduced environmental emissions.

“Duke Energy continues to be a dependable partner, open to innovative ideas and process improvements,” said Purdue University President Mitch Daniels. “This collaborative relationship has yielded a new plant that moves us further down the path of carbon reduction and meets the needs of both partners more efficiently than either of us could have achieved alone.”

The environmental benefits can be significant with combined heat and power plants. 

The new plant is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 50,000 metric tons, or the equivalent of removing 10,000 passenger vehicles from the road. This is because the plant will enable the university to use steam produced from heat that would otherwise be wasted.

Operational benefits

Purdue University uses steam as an efficient method to provide heat and hot water to campus facilities. By using steam from the new plant, the university will have more operational flexibility. Also, in the event of a major regional electric grid disruption, the new plant can provide emergency power to the university that would help keep the campus running.

Through an approved agreement, Duke Energy will sell to the university the steam the plant produces, and revenues from the steam sale will benefit Duke Energy customers. The plant can produce up to 150,000 pounds of steam per hour. 

Duke Energy’s Indiana customers will have a new source of electricity produced from cleaner-burning natural gas, helping to diversify the company’s current power generation fleet. The plant also will improve the stability and reliability of the electrical grid serving the Lafayette/West Lafayette area by having a local source of power generation.

Duke Energy Indiana

Duke Energy Indiana, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, provides about 6,300 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 870,000 customers in a 23,000-square-mile service area, making it Indiana’s largest electric supplier.

Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.

Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

Purdue University

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked in each of the last four years as one of the 10 Most Innovative universities in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at https://stories.purdue.edu

Media contacts:

Duke Energy – Angeline Protogere
Cell: 317.431.1910
Media line: 800.559.3853

Purdue University – Rebecca Terry
Phone: 765.413.5103