PERC, CSU Partner for Renewable Energy Project 

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U.S. Department of Energy Awards $10 Million in Funding 

The Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) is partnering with Colorado State University (CSU) and 2G Energy to examine decarbonized district energy systems with renewable propane-powered combined cooling heat and power (CCHP).

The project is one of six that was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to receive $10 million in funding from the Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) through the Technical Partnerships Funding Opportunity. The Opportunity supports funding for renewably supplied district energy systems and the development of regional smart manufacturing pilot initiatives.

“District energy systems provide multiple buildings with heating and/or cooling from a central plant,” said Jim Bunsey, director of commercial business development at PERC. “These systems increase efficiency and reduce emissions compared to individual building systems. They also provide a reliable and resilient source of thermal energy that is particularly useful for large energy users such as manufacturing facilities, healthcare campuses, and military bases.”

While district energy systems traditionally use fossil fuels, they can also incorporate renewable fuels for enabling low-carbon, flexible, energy-efficient CHP systems, which support the electrical grid.

“The research will help show that district energy systems can operate seamlessly with renewable fuels,” said Bunsey. “By incorporating propane-powered CHPs into these systems, it’s possible to provide necessary energy services in conjunction with onsite solar generation and simultaneously support the electrical grid.”

With the awarded funds, CSU will conduct a field demonstration of an integrated CCHP unit in a district energy system that uses the waste heat to drive a turbo-compression chiller, a technology developed at the university.

“This is important research for the commercial industry as it could be used to power critical infrastructure and facilities such as schools, hospitals, and large commercial complexes,” Bunsey said.

To learn more about this project and the benefits of propane, visit

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