A cutting-edge energy system converting waste heat to hot water

Stanford University is a world-renowned teaching and research institution close to San Francisco in the US. Stanford has for many years actively worked to minimize environmental footprint derived from campus activities. In 2012 a pioneering project was initiated with the aim to cut carbon emissions by 50 % by the use of advanced technology.

DATE 2024-01-22

Economizing waste heat

Alfa Laval was selected to join the project, and in April 2015 the new energy supply system was fully implemented. The heat recovery system is reusing waste heat from the cooling system to cover more than 80 % of their overall pace and tap water heating needs.  Heat recovery and continuous access to cost-efficient electrical power are two vital efficiency parameters, and a third one is a patented control system developed at Stanford. By continuous tuning of the system functions to the load forecast, the system will operate at an optimized level at all times. By new and more efficient pipes, the energy losses in the thermal distribution network is minimized. Over the next 35 years, Stanford expects to save USD 300 million by cut carbon emissions and lowered water use.

Stanford awarded in 2016

The innovative Stanford heat recovery system exploits the climate conditions of the area and utilizes the growing volumes of electrical power available from renewable sources. In October 2016 Stanford was awarded by Engineering News-Record (ENR) for 2016 Global Best Projects Award in the category of Green Projects. 


Quick project facts

The challenge

Integration of heat exchangers with a new, first-of-its-kind campus heating system, along with start-up assistance and troubleshooting. Flexible interaction with a constantly evolving project scheme combined with a high degree of customizing.

The solution

High degree of technological flexibility due to the modular structure of the Alfa Laval system. Continuous on-site presence and intense communication with all people involved

Alfa Laval technology used

129 Alfa Laval ETS (energy transfer station) for district energy applications


  • domestic hot water only
  • space heating only
  • combination of domestic hot water/ space heating

Technical specifications:

  • Design pressure: 150 psi
  • Plate materials: 316 stainless
  • Capacity: 250 MBH – 12,500 MBH

Temp parameters: 

  • space heating 125-155 °F (51,6-68,3 °C)
  • domestic hot water 75-140 °F (23,9-60°C)