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Energy operations for a CHP plant at an innovative clinical care and medical research facility

Through a long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) agreement, Vicinity Energy is ensuring the delivery of 24/7 heating, domestic hot water and electricity to support the hospital in its mission to provide top-quality neuroscience and musculoskeletal research and out-patient care.

Scope

Since 2016, Vicinity Energy has operated the combined heat and power (CHP) plant for a large Boston hospital which supplies high pressure steam and electricity to the hospital’s new medical facility and an existing adjacent building. As a microgrid – a power network that can operate independently from the electric grid – Vicinity can operate the plant in island mode if necessary, ensuring an uninterrupted 24/7 energy supply.

Challenge

As a world-renowned international leader in medicine, the hospital sought additional research and clinical space to help accelerate break throughs in its research and patient care for people suffering from neurologic, orthopedic and rheumatologic conditions. As part of the plans for the new facility, a 4-megawatt (MW) CHP
plant was constructed to support the campus’ heating, domestic hot water and power needs. The hospital sought an experienced energy operator to ensure an uninterrupted energy supply for its critical operations.

Solution

Located in Boston’s Longwood Medical Area, the 383,000 square foot facility opened in October 2016 and brings clinicians and scientists together to collaborate, research new treatments and improve patient medical care. Beyond the building’s more visible attributes lies a hidden subterranean gem that’s helping keep the lights on, medical equipment powered, equipment sterilized and building occupants comfortable. The CHP/boiler plant generates heating, domestic hot water and electricity for the building in addition to a nearby building. Under a multi-year operations and maintenance (O&M) contract, Vicinity Energy is operating the CHP plant to ensure a 24/7 uninterrupted energy supply.

Fueled by clean-burning natural gas, the CHP plant can simultaneously generate steam and electricity to support 80 percent of the energy needs of the campus. If utility supplied power is ever compromised due to an electric grid blackout, Vicinity can operate the CHP plant in island mode via a black start sequence. As experts at operating and managing complex energy and facility infrastructure systems, Vicinity is helping the hospital meet sustainability objectives, maximize efficiencies and minimize risk.

Results

By leveraging a lifecycle approach, a thorough commissioning and startup plan, preventive maintenance program, and performance guarantees, Vicinity is delivering operational savings and peak efficiencies for this Boston hospital. Through producing its own energy in-house, the hospital should recoup its investment in the plant’s infrastructure within six years. From ensuring the safety and comfort of building occupants, to enhancing the economic, technical and environmental performance of the assets under our care, Vicinity’s tailored O&M solutions are helping hospitals do what they do best: deliver top-quality patient care and pioneer medical breakthroughs to improve lives around the world.