In the early-1980’s, Hydrowest was receiving a fair bit of publicity regarding our hydroelectric developments. About this time, the owner of a shut in natural gas well (no gas pipeline but a nearby electrical powerline) approached us regarding using his fuel to make saleable electricity and thus monetize his otherwise un-merchantable natural gas. Our research showed us that there was a little-known section of PURPA which required electrical utilities to purchase natural gas generated power, but only if the total plant achieved here-to-fore impossible efficiencies, and that compliance with the old Fuel Use Act was demonstrably impossible.
We determined, after many trial heat-rate calculations, that no then-available prime mover could achieve the requisite heat rate; but we also found that a good combustion turbine (CT) attached to a boiler (HRSG) and powering a steam turbine (STG), with a second HRSG section for water heating (using a new design by Vogt Boiler whereby a glass lining allowed exceeding low stack temperatures) to supply a non power heat user COULD attain the required efficiency.
At this time, Ed Wetherbee joined our enterprise to lead the development of the cogeneration plants. After much travail, at Rifle CO, the country’s first PURPA compliant cogeneration plant was financed and constructed. This plant was rated at 85mW and used a 22 acre tomato green house as the heat host.
The success of the Rifle plant led to the creation of Cogen Technology, Inc and the development of the largest hydroponic vegetable growing company in the United States (Colorado Greenhouse, Inc.), supplying winter tomato’s to most of the country.
We were ‘first to market’ with this type of plant, and made a specialty of using refurbished combustion turbines (Generally GE Frame 5LA’s and Frame 6B’s) with new Vogt HRSG’s and refurbished STG’s. Our combined cycle cogeneration plant design was quickly copied by our competitors; none-the-less, we designed, financed, permitted, built, owned and operated natural gas fuelled plants at:
|Rifle, CO||80mW |
|Brush, CO||50 (Unit I)|
|Brush, CO||70 (Unit II)|
|Brush, CO||70 (Unit III)|
|Henderson, NV||160 (With Bonneville Pacific)|
|Ogden, UT||80 (With Bonneville Pacific) |