Chapter 6: Cogeneration, Capitol Complex Carbon Capture
Home Page    Site Map (Contents & Chapters)     Footnotes & Links     Advanced Building Complexes    Cogeneration for Building Complexes

  Carbon Capture at U.S. Capitol Building Complex
Discussion    Introduction    Power Plant Project    Raw CO2 Treatment    A Carbon-negative Capitol    Feasibility    Doing It     Footnotes & Links     To Nuclear Version >
Adding a Bioenergy Carbon Capture (BECC) unit
Building complexes such as colleges, hospitals, industry, airports, large offices and condominiums, military and government facilities, etc.
Making the U.S. Capitol Building Complex a demonstration example of how Climate Change's CO2 can be removed from the air.

Above, How Carbon-Negative Carbon Capture Can Work: Pulling Climate Change OUT of the Air
A good introductory tutorial paper about carbon capture has been posted on the internet by the Worley Parsons Company:  Carbon Capture Overview (3).pdf
About the use of amine solutions in carbon capture:
The carbon emissions spectrum of fossil fuels:  Carbon to Hydrogen Ratio In Fuels .jpg

We Can Modify Our 3,000+ Small Power Plants To Make Them Cleaner Than Is Possible With Either Wind Or Solar


Discussion.                         _____________________________________________________________________________________

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21 or CMP 11 was held in Paris, France, from 30 November to 12 December 2015.

The inclusion of Direct Air Carbon Capture as a mitigation technology was a strategic change that came out of the conference.  Direct Air Carbon Capture enables stopping climate change's growth by making carbon-neutral CO2 (cn-CO2) available as a feedstock for manufacturing carbon-neutral combustion fuels such as cn-methanol and cn-methane out of air's cn-CO2 and hydrogen gas extracted from water using high temperature heat from advanced nuclear reactors.  "cn" fuels do not add to, or remove from, the climate changing CO2 already in the air. 

Biomass from any plant is naturally carbon-neutral (cn). Properly treated, the cn biomass contained in sewage and garbage can also be extracted.

The U.S. Department of Energy's "Billion Ton Per Year Biofuel Economy" project report addresses obtaining large volumes of biomass for making sufficient quantities of biosynfuels.  Warning - this particular report is 22 megabytes big.  Biomass - US DOE  2016_billion_ton_report_0.pdf .

Biomass such as sewage and garbage are also cn-CO2 rich and can be extracted by using nuclear generated electricity to power plasma gasification columns (1) and Plasma Biofuels Gasifier this web site.

The cn-CO2 in biosynfuels can be directly made into cn-methanol, cn-methane, and other fuels such as cn-dimethyl ether (a higher cetane index propane-like replacement for diesel) and recovered after combustion by carbon capture as feedstock for further re-use in other cn fuels.  If not needed for cn fuels, cn-CO2 could be stored forever underground to reduce the total amount of Climate Changing CO2 in the air.

Carbon Capture: There are three general methods of combustion carbon capture being advocated for capturing 90% or more of the CO2 emissions of coal, oil, and natural gas. 1, Pre-Combustion, 2, Oxy-fuel Combustion, 3, Post Combustion.  Each has its major advantages and disadvantages.

The method being discussed here is number 3, Post Combustion, which is removing the CO2 from a combustion's exhaust stack.

As far as your author knows, there are no gas turbine building complex cogenerators equipped with carbon capturing exhaust systems in operation yet.  Since 2050 is the target date agreed upon at the Paris Conference, we could reasonably expect at least 35 years of service from this project.

So, to some extent, while this project would be a short journey into uncharted territory for the carbon captured biofuel burning cogenerators, that would not be the case for the carbon capturing technology itself, since amine of CO2-containing gas streams - mostly for natural gas upgrading - was first patented in 1930 and is well-known now. This knowledge suggests what is being discussed here is much more difficult and costly than it first seems.  Subtle purity issues involving both the fuel and amine chemistry such as found on pages 3, 4, and 5 of the Worley Parsons Carbon Capture Overview (3).pdf paper illustrate some of what is involved.

Among the major items that would be new is the heat of the cogenerator's exhaust, the CO2 would be from the combustion of biodiesel, not natural gas, and the liquefaction and cleanup of CO2 for shipping by rail tank car and sequestration or (near term) sale for enhanced oil recovery. 

There are several good reasons to take a hard look at biofuel cogeneration (combined heat and power or CHP).  Biosynfuels are the only source of substantial carbon-neutral heat that can be invoked today.  Heat applications, not electricity applications, are the dominant form of energy being used in the world today and they simply cannot be replaced by wind and solar.

1. Combined Cycle gas turbine systems, in this case a cogenerator, are already the cleanest and highest efficiency systems to date so there is far less motivation to improve further in either of these attributes than, for example, the old coal cogeneration systems found in New York City.

By capturing 90%+ of the CO2 and sequestering it in a disposal well, the combustion turbines emit almost no Climate Changing emissions. 

They would be almost perfectly carbon-neutral when burning fossil natural gas or fossil natural oil. 

Again, by burning bio-oil instead, then sequestering it's CO2 in a disposal well, the system would be making NEGATIVE CO2 emissions


Introduction                         _____________________________________________________________________________________

The History Of The Capitol Complex's Power Plant: 

The Anti-Coal Protest

CapitolClimateAction's anti-coal protest at Capitol Building Complex Coal Yard Gate (Left: note Capitol Power Plant coal stacks in background).

In June 2007, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the "Greening the Capitol" initiative. The initiative's goal is to make the Capitol Building Complex carbon clean, and the power plant is a major obstacle to achieving this objective.  In November 2007, Daniel Beard, the House's Chief Administrative Officer, announced that he would purchase $89,000 worth of carbon offsets for 30,000 tons of carbon emissions. Beard made the purchase from the Chicago Climate Exchange.  On February 28, 2009, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sent a letter to the Architect of the Capitol asking him to create a plan to switch the power plant entirely to natural gas by the end of 2009.  This letter came just three days before the scheduled protest, which organizers said would happen anyway. (Wikipedia)

Congress To Stop Using Coal In Power Plant

Jim Abrams,  Huffington Post, May 1, 2009.

WASHINGTON — The 99-year-old Capitol Power Plant, which provides steam for heat and hot water in congressional buildings, is ending its distinction of being the only coal-burning facility in the District of Columbia.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Friday that the switch to natural gas as the sole fuel source used at the plant was part of their efforts to reduce the carbon pollution impact of Congress on the nation's capital.
"The Congress of the United States should not only be a model for the nation, but also a good neighbor," Pelosi said.
The two Democratic leaders have for the past several years initiated steps to make the Capitol grounds more environmentally friendly. But moves to change light bulbs, use less paper and buy fuel-efficient vehicles have in some respects been overshadowed by the smoke that continues to rise from the power plant about four blocks south of the Capitol.
The D.C. government has complained that the plant worsens air quality and has affected the respiratory health of residents and workers in the area, particularly children.
The plant last year operated on about 65 percent natural gas and 35 percent coal. Pelosi's office said the plant has not burned coal since March and would continue to go without coal barring problems.
Acting Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers cautioned in a letter to Pelosi that work still needed to be done to upgrade the natural gas pipelines. He said coal might still have to be used as a backup in circumstances where heating needs exceed capacity of the natural gas pipelines, when abnormally cold conditions increase demand or when there are equipment outages.
The Capitol complex would not totally end its dependence on coal. Electricity is supplied by a local utility company that uses coal as a power source.
Ending the use of coal at the power plant has met some resistance from coal state lawmakers, who have said it sends the wrong message about the possibilities of clean coal.
But Hill Residents for Steam Plant Conversion, a neighborhood group, had urged Pelosi and Reid to move quickly to stop using coal at the plant, saying it was a major source of sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate air pollution.

Capitol Power Plant To Replace Coal With Natural Gas.
The AP (5/2, Abrams) reported, "The 99-year-old Capitol Power Plant, which provides steam for heat and hot water in congressional buildings, is ending its distinction of being the only coal-burning facility in the District of Columbia." Two Democratic Congressional leaders said "the switch to natural gas as the sole fuel source used at the plant was part of their efforts to reduce the carbon pollution impact of Congress on the nation's capital." The AP noted steps initiated past several years "to make the Capitol grounds more environmentally friendly. But moves to change light bulbs, use less paper and buy fuel-efficient vehicles have in some respects been overshadowed by the smoke that continues to rise from the power plant about four blocks south of the Capitol."

Roll Call (5/4, Bendery) adds, "Stephen Ayers, the acting Architect of the Capitol, said in a letter to Democratic leaders that coal will only be burned going forward for backup capacity."



Judging from the March, 2012, date of their publically posted emissions application, this project is probably cut and dried by now.  That's no reason to ignore the advanced emissions strategies the CPP folks designed into their project.  It will be a good example to copy for many years to come.  Since it's government, I suspect anyone is free to duplicate it.

NOTE: This relatively small repowering project (two 10,000 horsepower cogenerators) is far more important than it may seem because there are thousands of similar size building complexes - hospitals, large shopping malls, military bases, state capitol building complexes, office and industrial parks, colleges and universities, etc. - in the United States and around the world.  It could be seen as a template for future repowerings everywhere and, as such, could, over time, have a major impact on how we finally Stop Climate Change's growth.

It should be recognized you are reading about a project that may still be in progress, not just planning.  As an ex-project engineer/manager, I would be resentful if someone horned in out of the blue with a web site article like this.
It should also be recognized that with over a thousand such building complexes in the U.S. there could be a dozen in very early planning stages of similar power plant renovation or expansion projects that could benefit from getting the project details from the engineers who planned this project for the office of the Capitol Building Complex Power Plant (CPP). 
At 7.5 megaWatts(electrical), the CPP project's cogenerators are about 1% the size of a utility-size power plant so the risk of costs involved are much smaller.

The U.S. Capitol Building Complex As An Example
The Capitol Power Plant is installing a natural gas cogeneration power plant to greatly reduce their Climate Changing emissions.
By burning bio fuels instead, power plants become carbon-neutral and do not contribute to Climate Change. 

By adding carbon-capture equipment to the exhaust, fossil fuels can be burned as if they were clean carbon-neutral bio fuels, not adding to Climate Change.

By using carbon-neutral bio fuels in conjunction with exhaust carbon capture, the net result will become carbon negative and the cogeneration plant
will be pulling Climate Changing CO2 out of the air, thereby reducing Climate Change a bit! 

This web page discusses that possibility for the U.S. Capitol Building Complex's new power cogeneration project.

Thoughts of a professional control systems electrical engineer who worked 28 years in the facilities engineering division of a major pharmaceutical company.
This is clearly a leading-edge cogeneration project developed by top facility engineers for the place where people from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department Of Energy (DOE), and the nation's top representatives (the U.S. Congress) mingle and work.  It is environmentally leading edge because, right out of the box without carbon capture, it can produce environmentally-friendly carbon neutral electricity and heat by burning bio oil.  This fact is very important since it could set the pattern for the world's tens of thousands of similar building complexes that will need to have their power plants upgraded over the next decade.

It is important to your author because this plant has the "Right Stuff" for a next-generation Biofuel Energy Carbon Capture and Sequestration (BECCS) cogeneration power plant that would render fossil oil and gas carbon-neutral and, by using biofuel oil, carbon-negative, thus reversing Climate Change a bit.

This would make the U.S. Capitol Complex a "Green Island" example for all the U.S. State Capitol Complexes - and the world - to follow.

This way our capitol's staff can use as much energy as they want, whenever they want, and help the environment by doing so.

Definition of a building complex - A group of buildings used for a specific purpose.
There are thousands of different complexes in the U.S.: shopping malls, colleges, hospitals, military bases, airport terminals, factories, etc., most with little power plants similar to the U.S. Capitol Building Complex.
With BECCS, the Capitol Complex's plant would have a repertoire of different emission modes.

"The climate agreement delivered earlier this month in Paris is a genuine triumph of international diplomacy. It is a tribute to how France was able to bring a fractious world together. And it is testament to how assiduous and painstaking science can defeat the unremitting program of misinformation that is perpetuated by powerful vested interests. It is the twenty-first century's equivalent to the victory of heliocentrism over the inquisition. Yet it risks being total fantasy.

Let's be clear, the international community not only acknowledged the seriousness of climate change, it also demonstrated sufficient unanimity to define it quantitatively: to hold “the increase in … temperature to well below 2 °C … and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C”.

To achieve such goals demands urgent and significant cuts in emissions. But rather than requiring that nations reduce emissions in the short-to-medium term, the Paris agreement instead rests on the assumption that the world will successfully suck the carbon pollution it produces back from the atmosphere in the longer term. A few years ago, these exotic Dr Strangelove options were discussed only as last-ditch contingencies. Now they are Plan A.

Governments, prompted by their advisers, have plumped for BECCS (biomass energy carbon capture and storage) as the most promising 'negative-emissions technology'.

What does BECCS entail? Apportioning huge swathes of the planet's landmass to the growing of bioenergy crops (from big trees to tall grasses) — which absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis as they grow. Periodically, these crops are harvested, processed for worldwide travel and shipped around the globe before finally being combusted in thermal power stations. The CO2 is then stripped from the waste gases, compressed (almost to a liquid), pumped through large pipes over potentially very long distances and finally stored deep underground in various geological formations (from exhausted oil and gas reservoirs through to saline aquifers) for a millennium or so."  Kevin Anderson, Dec 21 2015.


The United States could have the world's first Carbon Negative Capitol

"In June 2007, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced the "Greening the Capitol" initiative. The initiative's goal is to make the Capitol carbon neutral, and the power plant is a major obstacle to achieving this objective." - -  

Nancy Pelosi's 'Greening the Capitol' initiative gives her the opportunity to make our Capitol the world's first "Carbon-captured, Global Warming Free" capitol.  Heat recovery boilers small enough to fit in the Capitol's boiler house yard south of the freeway and powerful enough to heat and cool the Capitol Building Complex have come on the market.  Like Jack Kennedy's vision of going to the moon, this could be the defining CO2 mitigation concept that marks the turning point in America's struggle against Global Warming.

The Capitol's boiler house is located about 4 blocks south of the Capitol Building.

Power Plant Project                _____________________________________________________________________________________

Just thinking green ................................

The Capitol Power Plant (CPP) is, in fact, a Trigeneration Plant: Electricity, Heat, and Cooling Energy

"Successful cogeneration design is all about matching the unit to the energy loads that need to be met; and running the power generating unit for long enough periods to gain maximum benefits from both the cheaper power and the effectively free heat produced. But what if the heating load is not present all year, or there are cooling as well as heating loads to be met?

That’s where trigeneration comes in. Adding an absorption chiller to a cogeneration system allows its heat output to be turned into cooling, for use in air conditioning or an industrial process. Thus trigeneration – for the production of heat, power and cooling energy. Adding a chiller so that the cogeneration unit runs for longer time periods can make the difference to system viability". - - -

The above diagram appears in the March 28, 2012 air permit application to construct and operate a cogeneration plant at the U.S. Capitol Power Plant (CPP) of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC).

There will be two of the above cogeneration electricity and heat cogenerators installed in the Capitol Building Complex Power Plant (CPP). 
While not huge, the emissions from two 10,000 hp combustion turbines running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, do add up over a year's time.
This kind of power plant produces slightly less than half the Climate Changing CO2 of coal for the same energy.
This Capitol Building Complex cogeneration design also has HRSG duct burners to provide sufficient heat at times when little electricity is needed.

(Natural gas typically has a CO2 emissions concentration of 4%; oil, 7%; coal; 12%.  The CO2 concentration in the ambient air is currently about 0.04%.) 

More about cogenerators from the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions:
Cogenerators at 3,000 U.S. sites make about 10% of ALL U.S. electricity and a similar proportion of U.S. heat.  3/4 use natural gas.  Large cogeneration systems (100 megawatts or more in capacity) account for roughly 65 percent of total U.S. cogeneration capacity.

It is the opinion of your author that as unreliable wind and solar further erode the reliability of electric utilities, more reliable cogeneration at large building complexes such as the Capitol's will become even more common.

While not in the scope of the current Capitol Power Plant project, in the remainder of this article your web site author takes the liberty of exploring the possibilities of extending the Capitol Power Plant's excellent basic cogeneration design idea to include carbon capture as a suggested starting template for future power and heating plant upgrades in the over 3,000 similar building and industrial complexes in the United States that approximate the size of the Capitol Building Complex. 

The author knows of several such building and industrial complexes in or near his home town that should give the CPP cogeneration design idea serious consideration.

Moving deeper into Deep Decarbonization: Carbon Capture

An opportunity to enable the plant to burn fossil gas and fossil oil as cleanly as if they were carbon-neutral biosynfuels has presented itself. 

The jet turbine powered electricity and heat cogeneration system opportunities:
Dual-fuel combustors - oil or natural gas - are a common option available on aero-derivative combustion turbines in this size category.
Equipped with dual-fuel combustors, the Capitol Building Complex's new power plant combustion turbines could be upgraded to capture their CO2 emissions of natural gas or oil fossil fuels or biosynfuels by adding a postcombustion carbon capture facility to their exhausts. 

This makes carbon-neutral and/or carbon-negative operation along with commercial sale of the liquefied captured CO2 possible.

Only one carbon capturing system is necessary and, like your car's muffler, has little or no effect on the cogenerator's proper operation.

The diagram below shows how carbon capture can be added to any existing cogeneration power plant with little power loss to the plant.

An excellent quick way to learn about carbon capture:  Worley Parsons - Carbon Capture Overview (3).pdf  NEBB has designed a similar carbon capture system for a Norwegian application. 


About the use of amine solutions in carbon capture: 

IF there is abundant electricity available to power the carbon capture pumps and compressors, only a package booster boiler may be needed to supply the reboiler heat necessary to extract the CO2 gas from the amine solution used to capture the CO2 from the exhaust stream. 
2. If ample heat is available, perhaps thru firing the duct burners on the cogenerator's Heat Recovery Steam Generators (HRSGs), it may be possible to heat the amine reboiler much of the time without using the package booster boiler. 
3. Going "part-time clean" may also be an option.

This CO2 capture technology was first patented in 1930 and today it's performance and cost is well known.  90%+ capture of CO2 is typical.

How this carbon capture system works:  Looking at the teaching diagram above, and in the right-hand application diagram below, liquid amine solvent is made to come into contact with the cogenerator's CO2-carrying exhaust gas in the blue left hand "CO2 Absorber" column.  The CO2 is absorbed from the exhaust gas by the liquid solvent.  The (now) CO2-rich solvent is then pumped to the right hand "Solvent Regenerator" column where it is heated by the "Reboiler" (lower right) to drive the CO2 out of the liquid solvent to capture the CO2 as a gas.  When the CO2 gas is boiled out of the solvent, the "CO2-lean" solvent is then returned to the left hand "CO2 Absorber" column for re-use.

Result: The captured CO2 gas is coming out the top of the (right) Regenerator column, CO2-free cogenerator exhaust is coming out the top of the (left) CO2 Absorber column.

It should be pointed out both the CO2 Absorber column and the Solvent Regenerator column are not heavy, expensive, explosion capable pressure vessels but rather inexpensive low pressure sheet metal tanks carrying no more than tire pressures.

The yellow process diagram (further below) shows a more detailed real-life capture system by Shell optimized to reliably capture the most CO2 for the least heat on a 24/7/365 basis.

(Above, basic system.) Two cogenerator units with a supplementary package booster boiler to keep the carbon capture system's reboiler hot.
(Below) A real-life amine carbon capture system from Shell web site.

(From Shell web site.)



Raw CO2 Treatment: Liquefaction compression and purification.

Your author has prepared a sketch (below) that shows how simple it is to liquefy CO2 gas by compression to purify the CO2 and minimize the cost of shipping it.

When first captured, the CO2 gas is contaminated with both water and traces of atmospheric and exhaust gases.  These gases are often referred to as "Tramp" gasses.

But they can do even better.  They can go CARBON NEGATIVE when burning Biodiesel.   

Biofuel cogeneration fuel oil is made from plants.  Plants pull carbon dioxide (CO2) FROM the air to capture the carbon they need to build themselves.  If the CO2 in the smoke from burning biofuel is captured and stored securely forever in the ground, the CO2 in the air that makes Climate Change has been REDUCED a bit. 

Done enough, all of Climate Change's CO2 could be pulled out of the air and Climate Change would be history. 

No cogeneration facility in the world can make NEGATIVE CO2 CAPTURE claims at this time. 

The U.S. Capitol Building Complex's cogenerators could.                     (Right) Proposed national CO2 disposal pipeline network.  (Click to enlarge.)


A Carbon negative Capitol   _____________________________________________________________________________________


Many existing power plant site locations in the United States are directly over geological formations suitable for drilling an on-site CO2 disposal well.  Global map of potential disposal sites.



Feasibility                  _____________________________________________________________________________________

Making Washington the world's first carbon negative Capitol

The Speaker of the House will have to initiate the first of several engineering and cost studies leading to the world's first carbon captured large building complex.  If you understand Climate Change, it's the very right thing to do.  If you understand America's attitude toward Climate Change, it will take an incredible act of courage on the Speaker's part to just mention it in public.

Repowering the Capitol Building Complex with carbon-captured energy would accomplish three key things:
           1. Ending natural gas's CO
2 exhausting into the air would end the Capitol Building Complex's net Global Warming CO2 production, producing a Clean Capitol.
           2. There could be no stronger demonstration to the world how sincere and capable the United States can be about stopping the growth of Climate Change.
           3. Show the world the United States can achieve deep decarbonization technology on a retrofit basis - the key to cost-effective decarbonization.


House Makes Progress With "Green The Capitol" Campaign.
USA Today (9/8, Thompson) reports that in January 2007, the House of Representatives "committed to becoming a greener, more energy-efficient institution," starting with "simple changes, such as switching to more eco-friendly products and finding better ways to dispose of waste products." The "Green the Capitol" program was designed to "change to more environmentally friendly food service products; to shift to renewable energy sources; and to switch from using coal to natural gas." Already, the House cafeteria "is on its way to becoming a zero-waste facility," and the House "now offers only paper with high or 100% recycled content, and as of January 2008, the House Office Supply Store began to add more environmentally friendly paper products." Also, "by switching to Energy Star energy-efficient vending machines alone, the House expects to save $25,000 a year."


How much energy is the Capitol using and how much CO2 is it making?

A quick and casual look based upon what I could glean from the internet:  
(I'll keep all energies in short (2,000 lb) ton-years of coal for easy comparison.  12,000 Btu per pound Eastern Bituminous will be the yardstick.)

"The percentage of energy input from each fuel has varied from year to year, with an average fuel mix of 43 percent natural gas, 47 percent coal, and 10 percent fuel oil between 2001 and 2007." - From testimony of  ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL, June 18, 2008.

The Capitol Power Plant burned 17,108 tons of coal in 2006, producing about 60,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

In April 2007, we reported that 96 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions from the Capitol Hill Complex resulted from purchased electricity (59 percent) and the combustion of fossil fuels in the Capitol Power Plant (37 percent).

"The plant currently produces steam using a combination of seven boilers—two that primarily burn coal, but could also burn natural gas, and five boilers that burn fuel oil or natural gas. The total capacity of these boilers is over 40 percent higher than the maximum capacity required at any given time, and the plant has the flexibility to switch among the three fuels or burn a combination of fuels. The percentage of energy input from each fuel has varied from year to year, with an average fuel mix of 43 percent natural gas, 47 percent coal, and 10 percent fuel oil between 2001 and 2007. " --  Architect of the Capitol, June 18, 2008.

Energy Consumption for the House Buildings

(Below) "Energy is supplied to the House buildings from several sources. Electricity is purchased from the local utility and provided directly to the buildings. The buildings are on a district steam and chilled water loop supplied by the CPP, located on site. The CPP does not produce electricity, but purchases electricity to operate the chillers. The boilers of the plant primarily use coal or natural gas to produce steam that is distributed to many of the buildings. Some of the buildings (for example, the Ford House Office Building) have other suppliers of heating and cooling energy.  Table 2 shows total energy consumption in House buildings. The table includes energy consumption, primarily electricity, metered at each House building, electricity used by the CPP to provide chilled water to House buildings, and fuel used by the CPP boilers to provide steam heat to House buildings."

"The CPP provides chilled water and steam throughout the Capitol complex, not just to House buildings. Because metered consumption of chilled water and steam is not available for each House building, we had to estimate of the percentage of total CPP output that was attributable to the House buildings. Based on floor area data for the buildings served by the CPP, we estimated that 31% of the CPP output is attributable to House buildings. We then applied the 31% factor to total CPP electricity and fuel consumption to calculate the chilled water and steam energy consumption to the House buildings. In 2006, the total annual energy use for the House buildings was an estimated 809,100 million Btu (MBtu) expressed as site energy (not source energy)."     
(Map from: )

Congress has 435+ principal offices in the House of Representatives and 100+ principal offices in the Senate.

How many Btu* are needed to power the House of Representatives, the Senate, and all their adjacent supporting office buildings?  (I don't have a Senate report.)

* Btu - British Thermal Unit.  One Btu equals the amount of heat needed to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.  1 Watt-hour = 3.14 Btu.


Doing It                      _____________________________________________________________________________________

Actually doing it.

Space for the Combustion Turbines, Heat Recovery Steam Generators, and the Carbon Capture Facility is at premium in the Capitol Building Complex Power Plant (CPP).  The carbon capture facility could be remotely located a short distance south of the adjacent freeway in the existing CPP coal storage yard.

The carbon capture columns don't need to be functional for the cogenerators to run.  The capture equipment can be bypassed like your car's catalytic converter.

A coal conveyor tunnel under the freeway connects the coal yard and the basement of the largest CPP building (next to the railroad tracks).  There is no future for the coal pile so this space could be considered available. 

The exhaust gases of the new cogenerators could be piped under the freeway in the existing coal conveyor tunnel to the carbon capture facility in the existing coal storage yard.

The existing railroad tracks would carry in tank cars of biofuel oil and carry away CO2 tank cars instead of bringing in coal cars filled with coal.

This location would provide plenty of space for the post combustion amine CO2 capture equipment, the CO2  and biofuel oil storage tanks.


(Above) Capitol Building Complex coal yard (lower center), power plant (upper center).

(Above) Capitol Building Complex coal yard (North is up).




Steam heated lithium-bromide air conditioning systems are among the most efficient ways to cool a building.  Counter-intuitive, but true.  

This is a wonderful way to use steam from a heat recovery boiler to cool large buildings.


About     Contact     Foreword


 "Greening" the U.S. Capitol          



Footnotes & Links

1.     Nuss, P.; Gardner, K. H.; Jambeck, J. R. Comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Construction and Demolition (C&D) Derived Biomass and U.S. Northeast Forest Residuals Gasification for Electricity Production. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2013, 47 (7), 3463–3471. DOI: 10.1021/es304312f