District Energy SW 40th Street Thermal Plant Geothermal Project

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Last modified on July 22, 2011.

Project Title District Energy SW 40th Street Thermal Plant
Project Type / Topic 1 Recovery Act – Geothermal Technologies Program: Ground Source Heat Pumps
Project Type / Topic 2 Topic Area 1: Technology Demonstration Projects
Project Description In accordance with the results of a Feasibility Study comparing the total Life Cycle Cost of several options, the District Energy Corporation will construct a central utility plant equipped with a geothermal heat pump system to serve the thermal energy demands of the adjacent Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility. The Detention Facility will house 779 inmates plus the required staff for this population. The peak cooling load for this facility is approximately 858 tons, and the peak heating load is approximately 6,000 MBh. The total peak simultaneous load is 108 therms/hr.

The project's interconnected heat pump units are capable of reversing operation to perform either heating or cooling, lowering the initial equipment cost of the project and providing an inherent source of redundancy. The geothermal system provides a renewable source of heat exchange at a much higher efficiency than conventional methods. This decreased operation cost results in a significantly lower Life Cycle Cost than a conventional thermal energy plant. In fact, although the geothermal system requires a higher initial investment, the energy savings results in an 8.7% total savings over a 25 year period. The energy savings realized by operating the geothermal system achieves not only economic benefits, but environmental benefits as well.

In addition to sustaining the environment, the project will contribute to sustaining the economy as well. The domestic manufacture of equipment, as well as an infusion of design and construction jobs, will not only bolster the economy in the short term, but will help to grow and support a green economy and encourage demand for sustainable and renewable energy solutions.

State Nebraska
Objectives Provide heating and cooling service to the Lancaster County Adult Detention Facility on adjacent site employing the most efficient and sustainable method that also proves to be the most economically feasible over the life cycle of the project. The efficiencies achieved in the design of the plant will also allow economically advantageous thermal service to future building sites in the area.
Awardees (Company / Institution) District Energy Corporation

Funding Opportunity Announcement DE-FOA-0000116
DOE Funding Level (total award amount) $5,000,000.00
Awardee Cost Share $15,132,822.00
Total Project Cost $20,132,822.00

Principal Investigator(s) Krishna Amancherla

Targets / Milestones The DEC plant will install 24 nominal 50-ton water-to-water heat pump units connected to a system of geothermal bores from which heat is extracted during the heating season and to which heat is rejected during the cooling season. The plant will send hot water, chilled water, and domestic hot water to the Detention Facility via a system of underground piping that connects to the building mechanical system piping.

Location of Project Lincoln, NE

Impacts Innovative use of GHP system in a prison facility, offers tremendous energy savings over traditional alternatives, such as boilers.
Funding Source American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009
References EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs[1]


  1. EERE Geothermal Technologies Programs