Green Energy Kept NYU (Partly) Lit: In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the vast majority of lower Manhattan was left without power or heat. But a sizable chunk of New York University's campus retained their power, thanks to a new green energy project.

The university's cogeneration power plant called "collateral benefit," completed in January 2011, was designed to harness energy usually wasted in the production process.

This diagram explains the system. It works like this: First, gas burned in a gas turbine turns a generator. Then the waste heat is used to boil water

into steam. The steam activates another turbine, which makes more electricity — used to power lights, elevators and

computers and steam for heating and cooling water.

The new plant is

nearly 90 percent efficient and it leaves a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional power systems. The system does not cover the entire campus but it did keep the university's

larger buildings and core campus heated and lit. 

via New York Times

NYU video: NYU's Cogeneration Plant: How It Works