TEC Goes Underground to Provide Central Energy Plant Control

June 27, 2016

Community-centric urban planning and long term sustainability are the cornerstones on which Columbia University is transforming the Manhattanville neighborhood of upper Manhattan. The 17-acre campus will be home to 19 new or revitalized buildings totaling 6.8 million square feet of academic and support space for teaching, research and public service. The project is touted as the nation’s first LEED-ND Platinum university campus plan.

Hidden below this cutting edge academic community is a high-efficiency energy plant producing and distributing heating, air-conditioning, and emergency electrical power to the entire complex. This energy plant comprises two 1500 HP, 45,000 Lb/Hr duel-fuel high pressure steam boilers; two 2250 ton electric drive chillers; four 4,600 KVA incoming electrical services; two 2.5 MW emergency generators; and a state of the art industrial PLC Data Acquisition and Control System (DACS). The plant has been designed to easily expand as campus construction continues and energy demand increases. Support infrastructure for two additional 1500 HP steam boilers; two 2250 Ton steam driven turbine chillers; two 4,600 KVA electrical services; four 2.5 MW emergency generators; and expansion of the DACS has already been put in place to accommodate the needs of the facility as it grows._DSC2096

Monitoring, control and data acquisition of this modern energy hub is performed by a Rockwell Automation/Allen-Bradley/ControlLogix Enhanced Redundancy system. At the heart of the DACS system is a series of stand-alone, fully redundant Distributed Control System (DCS) control panels interconnected via a redundant fiber optic network. TEC Systems of Long Island City, New York performed all DACS engineering, control panel design and manufacturing, installation and sequence programing. The system is interconnected via a neural network of fiber optics and high speed Ethernet, and monitors and controls the major mechanical and electrical systems along with all ancillary mechanical and electrical support systems. TEC Systems designed electrical, steam, chilled water and HVAC graphics screens using their unique and user-friendly graphics templates through which operations personnel are kept informed of system statuses and anomalies via 10 operator workstations distributed throughout the plant as well as remote thin-clients running FactoryTalk View Site and ViewPoint HMI software respectively. VantagePoint, a high-powered historian and report generation software is utilized to perform real-time as well as historical data analysis to rapidly present and analyze plant performance data. HART protocol enables enhanced communication with instruments and remote field I/O panels as well as integration (via industry standard communication protocols) to electrical and mechanical equipment for data collection and system control. At the end of the project TEC Systems was responsible for quality assurance as well as system startup and commissioning. Altogether, the speed, reliability, and redundancy designed into this process system-based DACS ensures safe and efficient operation of the Central Energy Plant.

_DSC2076Columbia University’s development of its Manhattanville campus is part of its mission to be one the world’s most prominent centers of research and to create a unique learning environment for students and faculty. As part of this development they have focused on the importance of the existing community, the environment, and the utilization of advanced building technologies and systems.



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