Biomedical District Steam Plant

Client: EnwaveUSA
Completion Date: Design: 2013; Construction: 2014
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana


EnwaveUSA owns and operates the Downtown New Orleans district energy system and provides steam and chilled water services to numerous customers, including the Louisiana State University (LSU) Medical Center.

Burns & McDonnell is the design-builder for the new Biomedical District Energy Plant to meet load growth of the LSU Medical Center. The new plant will replace an existing boiler plant providing critical services to the Level I trauma center. One of the biggest challenges is working around the tight urban footprint. Because this plant is part of the critical infrastructure of the area, the design incorporates hurricane wind loads and all equipment essential to maintaining operation is placed on the second floor, above the flood plain-plus margin.

The plant will be the sole source of steam to some of the critical and noncritical facilities in the New Orleans Biomedical District. It must be configured to meet the same level of reliability and availability as the most critical client, the new LSU Medical Center. The LSU Medical Center's goal is to have the ability to operate continuously for up to seven days in the event of a discontinuation in electrical, natural gas or water utility service to the district. To meet this requirement, both nonpotable water and fuel oil will be stored on site to support the critical steam load of 50,000 pph for that seven-day period. The new plant will support this load with a 50 percent diversity factor for the seven-day duration.

Other key resiliency features include:

  • N+1 redundancy
  • 20 feet of flood mitigation
  • 7 days of fuel storage
  • 7 days of water storage
  • Diesel emergency generator
  • Design for CAT-3 (150 mph) wind loading
  • Hardened electrical service entrance
  • Personnel bunkroom


  • Design-build delivery


Technologies evaluated:

  • Dual-fuel boilers
  • Feed water and condensing economizers
  • Variable speed pumping
  • Fuel and water storage
  • Flood mitigation

Range of generation capacities:

  • Generation - 900 kW
  • Steam - 210,000 pph

Unique characteristics:

  • Designed to accommodate 20-foot floodwaters
  • Precast concrete façade designed to withstand 150 mph hurricane winds
  • 7 days of standalone, isolated operation