The New York Marriot Downtown in Manhattan just started generating most of its own electrical power, offsetting 5800 megawatt hours per year. That’s enough to power 700 homes. It’s not using some inefficient diesel generator to do that that, either. Last week, the hotel flipped on a sophisticated system of 11 microturbines that crank out huge amounts of wattage at a rate that’s three times more efficient than a conventional power plant.
The “tri-generation” PureComfort system, built by UTC Power, does a lot more than just generate megawatts. Waste heat from the natural gas-powered turbines is used for hot water, space heating, and in a counterintuitive trick, air conditioning. Marriott hopes to save $80,000 annually using this off-the-grid tech.
Nobody’s talking about the price of these turbines, which resemble small jet engines integrated with an electric generator, but we’re wishing UTC could scale this down to a size we could use in an individual house. Maybe we could combine this tech with the garbage-fueled “Mr. Fusion” generator, add a few solar panels, and then we could go completely (and comfortably) off the grid.