KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Burns & McDonnell has completed engineering design and construction management for the first phase of a $330 million upgrade of Thermal Energy Corporation’s district energy system serving the Texas Medical Center in Houston. Thermal Energy Corporation (TECO) hosted a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, August 24, celebrating formal commissioning of a new Combined Heat & Power (CHP) plant comprised of a 45-megawatt combustion turbine generator and a heat recovery steam generator producing 270,000 lbs/hr of steam. The CHP plant was recently placed into commercial service and is now providing electricity to the TECO plant and thermal energy in the form of steam and chilled water to 18 medical institutions located at Texas Medical Center, the world largest medical center.
Burns & McDonnell is providing engineering, procurement and construction services for the initial phase of a Master Plan upgrading TECO’s Central Plant. The TECO Central Plant in conjunction with the South Main Plant provides chilled water to 42 buildings and steam to 36 buildings within the Texas Medical Center complex. When the entire Master Implementation Project is completed in the spring of 2011, chilled water production will be increased by 32,000 tons, thanks to the installation of four new 8,000 ton electrical centrifugal chillers, an 8.8 million gallon stratified chilled water storage tank and the 45 MW CHP plant.
“We are proud to partner with TECO in support of its mission of providing enhanced power quality and energy security to the Texas Medical Center,” said Greg Graves, Burns & McDonnell Chairman and CEO. “When this project is complete in 2011, TECO will be operating the largest central utility plant in the nation. We believe it will become a model many other institutions look to in planning and developing similar facilities of their own.”
With the upgrades to its central utility plant, TECO has the capacity to provide all the power and thermal energy needed by the healthcare and research institutions located on the Texas Medical Center campus. The facility is interconnected to the Houston area grid but has the ability to operate in “island” mode in the event of any disaster that would interrupt power service to the surrounding region.
With addition of the CHP plant, TECO has upgraded its on-site power generation capacity from 16 MW to 45 MW. Under later phases of the master plan, generating capacity will be increased to 100 MW. The CHP plant will reduce regional air pollutants by 302 tons of NOx, 305,000 tons of CO2 and 83,000 metric tons of carbon per year. The carbon reduction is the equivalent to removing the emissions of 52,000 cars or adding 83,000 acres of forest annually.