CHP-Enabled Renewable Energy Microgrid at Phila. Navy Yard

Project Info


Penn State University and PECO




Design-build; RFP documents & process; technical services; utility coordination; construction management

Project Overview

  • Design-build of a 65kW natural gas-fired microturbine at Bldg 7R 
  • Integrated with existing components 
    • rooftop solar array
    • lithium-ion battery energy storage system
    • lead acid battery energy storage system
  • Installed and configured additional components including
    • hyperlocal weather station
    • microgrid controller
    • secure two-way radio network connected to Network Operations Center
  • Performed advanced metering and technical services to support project

Project Description

ProtoGen provided design/build services for construction of a building-scale microgrid in the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The completed system consists of a combined-cycle microturbine operating in parallel with solar, energy storage and a hyperlocal roof-mounted weather station comprising rain gauge, anemometer, cloud forecasting sky camera, pyranometers and thermometer. The system is controlled by locally sited microgrid controllers which are also connected to the Navy Yard utility’s Network Operations Center (NOC) via encrypted 2-way radio.

ProtoGen performed pre-construction consulting, design and engineering, scope of work development, bid solicitation, technical oversight, and developed interconnection requirements. We also provided advanced metering and construction management, and supported the installation and configuration of the microgrid controllers.

The system serves as a platform for research, education and training on complex energy system architectures. It’s designed to operate both in tandem with the electric grid, as well as independently in ‘islanded’ mode (simulating a grid outage). The system will be used to research and document the economic and technical factors that arise from the dynamic, interacting distributed energy resource components and their interaction with The Navy Yard’s private unregulated electric grid , which supplies electricity to ~100 buildings and businesses located on the grounds of the former base.

The system was designed in part to demonstrate how Marcellus Shale gas can be coupled with renewable energy technologies to promote economic development in grid-constrained areas of Pennsylvania, while enabling the long-term reduction of carbon footprints. Funding for the project was provided in part by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, the U.S. Department of Energy, Penn State’s Office of the Vice President of Research, and generous donations from PECO/Exelon, ProtoGen, EnerSys, and EnergyIQ.

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