CUP Upgrade Project

MIT’s Central Utilities Plant (CUP) produces on-campus electricity and steam through a combined heat and power (CHP) process, also known as cogeneration – a highly efficient method of generating electrical and thermal power simultaneously. At the heart of the cogeneration facility is a natural gas turbine that has been running since 1995 and is now nearing the end of its useful life. 

The CUP Upgrade Project will replace the aging turbine with new equipment, add a second new turbine at the same location, and complete additional system upgrades to increase energy efficiency and improve the resiliency of the campus. The upgraded system will serve MIT for at least the next 20 years.


  • To upgrade the plant for greater efficiency and to support current and future research
  • To enable the plant to incorporate evolving technologies to help build campus sustainability 
  • To increase the resiliency of the campus
  • To support human health through the implementation of best available emissions control technologies

Benefits at a glance

  • Regulated pollutant emissions reduced 25%
  • Greenhouse gas emissions reduced 10%, offsetting increased emissions due to growth
  • Increased capacity and reliability boosts campus resiliency
  • Transition to cleaner power eliminates use of fuel oil except for testing and emergencies
  • Flexible system supports growth and encourages innovation
  • New gas regulator station provides opportunities for local utility