Home Energy Management Micro CHP Unit Improves Grand Traverse Resort Efficiency

Micro CHP Unit Improves Grand Traverse Resort Efficiency


ACME, MICH.—Grand Traverse Resort and Spa near Traverse City, Mich. is reaping the benefits of improved energy efficiency and enhanced eco-friendliness because of a new piece of equipment, with integration design by A. O. Smith and installed late in the summer of 2016—a YANMAR Micro Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system.

The YANMAR Micro CHP unit has an engine that runs on natural gas to generate electricity with useful heat (hot water) as a byproduct of cooling the engine. It is a technology that has been in use in a variety of commercial and industrial applications for some time, however this is the first installation in a resort/hotel setting in the United States as part of a marketing test project.

The marketing test project is a cooperative effort by the unit’s manufacturer, YANMAR Energy Systems of Germany and Japan, along with Keen Technical Solutions, LLC of Traverse City, Mich., A. O. Smith of Milwaukee, Wis., and the United States Department of Energy.

Keen Technical Solutions and A. O. Smith had been on the lookout for a good fit for the test marketing project, and when they found out that the resort needed to replace a boiler, it became apparent to them that the resort would be a good fit for the project.

Fits Well into Resort’s Strategy

The resort agreed with their assessment. Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s Director of Engineering, Tom Peters, said, “Over the last several years we have been replacing outmoded electrical and mechanical equipment at the resort with new, more energy-efficient equipment that saves money and decreases our carbon footprint. The Micro CHP fits very well into that strategy.”

The test marketing project calls for eight Micro CHP units to be installed in various applications around the United States, funded with $1.8 million dollars in grants from YANMAR Energy Systems, A. O. Smith, and the Department of Energy. The unit installed at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa also received installation support from DTE Energy.

The unit installed at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa generates 30 kilowatts of power and 60 kilowatts of heat with hot water production of up to 5,000 gallons per day. It is rated at 320,000 BTUs per hour. Clean hot water from the unit feeds to the resort’s commissary, bakery, tower kitchen, and tower kitchen dishwasher. Estimates are that the resort could see annual savings of electrical energy of as much as $20,000 per year.

The unit went into operation in August 2016 and received an EPA certificate of approval for commercial emission standards before it was put into operation.