Undergraduate Thesis Or Project

The Economy and Advisability of Operating a Combined Power and Exhaust Heating Plant at the Oregon Agricultural College

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  • The question of whether to purchase power or to maintain an isolated plant is one which frequently confronts the engineer, and the problem is by no means easy of solution, as there are a number of factors which vary with individual cases and determine the economy and desirability of the isolated plant. Rather unusual conditions are encountered in connection with the lighting and heating of the Oregon Agricultural College. For instance, the peak of the load occurs in the afternoon, between 3 and 7 P.M. while there is practically no peak in the morning. In addition, the load fluctuates greatly from day to day and there is but a light power load during the summer and no demand at all for heat. Notwithstanding the low rate of two cents per kilowatt hour paid by the college for power purchased from the Oregon Power Company, the question arisen a to the advisability of operating a plant on the campus and using the exhaust steam for heating. The expense of operation, aside from fuel, the first cost and maintenance of a plant are not difficult to estimate, but the additional cost of fuel for the generation of power, the question of the utilization of all the exhaust steam and the practicability of operating a small plant to carry a load which is largely a heavy, fluctuating motor load with a low power factor are factors which would vitally affect the success of an isolated plant for the Oregon Agricultural College, and the principal difficulty in making this report is encountered in determining the importance of these factors. The determination of operating expense are necessarily approximate, and an effort ha been made throughout to place any possible error on the debit side in order to make allowance for unforeseen expenses which inevitably occur in connection with work of this kind. This thesis is not intended to offer a design for a plant and the features properly belonging to design have been taken up only sufficiently to determine the cost of installing a plant and the character of equipment needed in order to find the fixed charges. It is the purpose of this thesis merely to determine the the advisability of installing a plant at the Oregon Agricultural College from the standpoints of economy and reliability of service.
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