Texas Medical Center Central Utility Plant Expansion
Texas Medical Center Central Utility Plant Expansion
Texas Medical Center Central Utility Plant Expansion
08/24/2010 2 minute read

Burns & McDonnell completes engineering design and construction management for the first phase of TECO's district energy system at the world's largest medical center.

HOUSTON — Burns & McDonnell has completed engineering design and construction management for the first phase of a $330 million upgrade of Thermal Energy Corp.'s (TECO) district energy system serving the Texas Medical Center in Houston. TECO hosted a dedication ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 24, celebrating formal commissioning of a new combined heat and power (CHP) plant, comprised of a 45-megawatt (MW) combustion turbine generator and a heat recovery steam generator producing 270,000 pounds per hour 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. In conjunction with the south main plant, the TECO central 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.

Read more about the central plant master plan implementation >

About TECO

TECO began operations in 1969 as a not-for-profit service cooperative serving eligible healthcare institutions of the Texas Medical Center. Today, TECO is owned by nine Texas Medical Center institutions and operates two plants that supply service to 25 institutions located in 42 buildings within the Texas Medical Center campus.

About Burns & McDonnell

Burns & McDonnell provides engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting services to clients throughout North America and abroad. More than 3,000 engineers, architects, scientists, planners, estimators, economists, technicians and other professionals work in 20 offices located throughout the U.S. Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned. 

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