|Submission Date||March 5, 2021|
University of California, San Diego
IN-47: Innovation A
|0.50 / 0.50||
Dir/Strat Energy Initiatives
VICE CHANCELLOR-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT/PLANNING
Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:
UCSD operates a world-class microgrid that serves as a living laboratory for integrating cutting-edge technology into campus operations, while self-generating 80% of the campus’ electricity and reducing the reliance on imported power. It now serves as the springboard for the next generation of grid integrated renewable and distributed energy resources. In 2020, UC San Diego received $39 million from the National Science Foundation to further build a world class platform to decarbonize the grid, protect it from cyber security attacks, and make it more resilient by retrofitting the microgrid on campus to build a best in class testing ground where professors, students, and industry can collaborate. https://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/feature/39-million-grant-to-better-integrate-renewables-into-power-grid
UCSD’s energy program has been nationally recognized for its leadership and innovation in applying state-of-the-art energy management practices to minimize campus environmental impacts. Following are some examples of how UCSD has been able to reduce its energy use and carbon emissions, despite its significant growth over the past several years:
• Since 2001 UCSD’s highly efficient, ultra-low emission cogeneration plant has generated over 75% of the La Jolla campus’ energy.
• In 2008 UCSD began an aggressive energy efficiency program that has completed over $100M in energy efficiency projects, saving the campus more than $8M in annual energy costs.
• Establishing a highly innovative, world-class microgrid and “Energy Research Park” that serves as a living laboratory for integrating cutting-edge technology into campus operations.
• Incorporating large-scale thermal energy storage capacity into the La Jolla campus chilled water system to reduce peak load and energy costs.
As part of its microgrid energy park, UC San Diego installed a 2.8 megawatt fuel cell that utilizes waste methane from a local wastewater treatment plant. The fuel cell provides about 8 percent of UC San Diego’s total energy needs. The Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plant provides the purified methane, which is then injected into an existing gas pipeline to supply the UC San Diego fuel cell as well as two fuel cells at City of San Diego sites. UC San Diego’s newest fuel cell unit has the following notable distinctions:
1. UCSD’s DFC3000 was the first such unit installed in California as an ultra-clean technology certified by the California Air Resources board (CARB).
2. UCSD’s fuel cell - at 2.8 MW - is the largest commercially available fuel cell in the world, and the only one located at a university worldwide.
3. UCSD’s fuel cell is the only California unit that utilizes “directed biogas” as defined by the California Public Utilities Commission for the Self Generation Incentive Program.
4. UCSD’s fuel cell will be the first DFC3000 fuel cell in the USA that utilizes an absorption chiller, increasing the CCHP efficiency from approximately 47% electrical efficiency to above 65% total thermal efficiency. Construction of the absorption chiller was completed in 2014.
In 2015, we added an advanced a 2.5 MW – 5MWhr battery storage system charged by renewable energy generated by a 2.8 megawatt onsite fuel cell. The system also a 1.2M gallon thermal energy storage system that eliminates all on-peak electric chilling on the East Campus neighborhood. Finally, the system includes 2.3 megawatts of conventional flat panel photovoltaics (rooftop solar) and two sun-tracking, light-concentrating photovoltaic arrays.
As a result of the University’s willingness to innovate and share those innovations, the campus microgrid has been touted as a model by the California Energy Commission and the U.S. Navy, and highlighted in a variety of media outlets including Bloomberg News, Forbes Magazine and the New York Times. It has also been recognized with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star Award and was named SDG&E’s 2013 Energy Grand Champion among many other awards for energy efficiency and sustainability. The Energy Innovation Park is a frequent stop on tours for
undergraduate classes, graduate classes, researchers and the public.
Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Air & Climate
A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :
The website URL where information about the innovation is available :
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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