A Traverse City, Michigan, landmark is enjoying improved efficiency and lower operating costs thanks to some unique technology. A collaboration between some forward-thinking companies had introduced an innovative way to use a Micro CHP at the Grand Traverse Resort.


The Micro CHP unit, (or Combined Heat and Power), was installed in August of 2016, thanks to the cooperative efforts of Keen, YANMAR Energy Systems, AO Smith, and the US Department of Energy. It was a global effort, with YANMAR operating chiefly out of their main offices in Japan and Germany, with assistance from AO Smith’s team in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The project is a way to highlight a new application of Micro CHP units, moving from their established role in industrial manufacturing to use in a hospitality setting. It’s the first introduction of a Micro CHP in such a setting, and Keen is excited to show how versatile these units can be.


Our President and co-founder, Tim Pulliam, sees Micro CHP as a portable, low cost addition to many businesses. Instead of relying on large-scale installation, a Micro CHP can bring a lot of advantages in a small package.


There have been large scale installations for years, but they are typically, very high cost, not easy to install in the areas it's needed most, and multiple other barriers to entry. Nice thing about micro CHP, it's cost effective, low risk, and can be rolled through a door into a mechanical room and running quickly,” he commented.


Once it’s up and running, the benefits add up quickly. A unit like that installed at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa generates 30 kilowatts of power and 60 kilowatts of heat. That’s enough to heat 5,000 gallons of water per day, with an estimated electrical costs savings of up to $20,000 per year. That’s certainly something to get excited about, which is a part of the motivation to highlight the use in the United States.


The collaborative effort of YANMAR, AO Smith and Keen comes from a $1.8 million in grants that hope to see a total of eight Micro CHP units installed in the US. It’s an opportunity to show the benefits of the technology, and local businesses like the Grand Traverse Resort and DTE Energy were quick to contribute as well. With an old boiler needing to be replaced, the project quickly gained momentum. Now, the Micro CHP is providing energy with hot water as the main byproduct, which is safe to drink and used in the Resort’s laundry, bakery, and tower kitchen.

What to learn more about the Mirco CHP unit project, or what Keen Technical Solutions can do for your company? Get in touch!


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