Power Engineers Collaborative, L.L.C.


University of Illinois at Chicago - Various Projects

Client: Illinois Capital Development Board

Chicago, Illinois


Boiler No. 7 Replacement

This project is part of the overall UIC Utilities Master Plan which was approved at the March 2011 Board of Trustees meeting and consists of demolishing the existing Boiler No. 7 and replacing it with a new Boiler No. 7 at the Steam Plant located at 1717 West Taylor Street, Chicago. Work includes demolition of the old boiler, opening a wall for the new boiler to come through, relocating some steam piping, the installation of a new boiler and its ancillary equipment, piping, trains, valves, boiler controls and control panel, structural supports, breeching, ductwork, feed water connections, electrical work, and other items.  The new boiler will have the duel fuel option (both gas and fuel oil No. 2) as required by the Illinois Department of Public Health.


PEC served as design engineer for installation of replacement package boiler in the West Campus Steam Plant.  PEC provided conceptual drawings and boiler specification as basis for bid process.  PEC continues to be involved providing technical review and oversight during construction.  New boiler includes low-NOx dual fuel burner and is rated for 180,000 pph at 450°F/150 psig.


East & West Campus Chilled Water Distribution Studies

The East Campus chilled water system dates back to the original construction of the campus, serves 29 buildings and includes an 8,500 ton chiller plant which provides flow to three main branches.  The system has a history of flow issues which have not been successfully remedied.  PEC performed extensive field survey of distribution piping and equipment at each building interconnection point.  A detailed flow model was developed using Pipe-Flo Professional Version 12.  The model was benchmarked against historic data and illustrated causes for historic flow deficiencies.  The model was also used to validate recommended system improvements.  During investigation, system monitoring deficiencies were noted and recommendations were made to install additional BTU and system pressure monitoring stations.  Recommendations were also provided regarding deficient plant capacity and the capability of the system to provide adequate flow to future loads.


The West Campus chilled water system has been significantly expanded in recent years and now serves 25 buildings and includes a 14,000 ton chiller plant.  PEC performed extensive field survey of distribution piping and equipment at each building interconnection point.  A detailed flow model was developed using Pipe-Flo Professional Version 12. During investigation, system monitoring deficiencies were noted and recommendations were made to install additional BTU and system pressure monitoring stations.  Recommendations were also provided regarding deficient plant capacity and the capability of the system to provide adequate flow to future loads.  The flow model has provided an accurate picture of remaining capacity and has identified efficiency improvement opportunities.

Milwaukee County Power Plant - Various Projects

Client: WE Energies (A WEC Energy Group company)

Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Boilers No. 1 - 3 Fuel Conversion Study

WE Energies requested that PEC conduct an investigation into the suspension of coal combustion at the Milwaukee County Power Plant (MCPP) by converting the entire facility to natural gas as the primary fuel. Currently, coal is combusted in the existing traveling grate stoker boilers 1-3. Boilers 1-3 are the primary base load steam generators for the plant.


Two options considered for the fuel conversion:

1. Convert boilers 1-3 to natural gas through the addition of gas burners.

2. Retire boilers 1-3 and replace the steam generating capacity with new gas fired package boilers.


The long term operational needs of this facility were to maintain high reliability and eliminate the use of coal as a fuel. In studying the two options above, PEC considered the current facility design, operational constraints, air permit requirements, and capital cost implications.


The methodology for the study included a basic assessment of the existing stoker boilers by two boiler / burner vendors, an engineering evaluation of the balance of plant implications for the boiler fuel conversion, budget pricing for replacement package boilers from two boiler vendors, and an Engineer’s opinion of probable cost for both options. In the development of the probable cost, PEC conducted a basic review of the facility and established a concept design for each option as a basis for the estimate. The conceptual designs are explained further in the respective report sections


Boiler No. 4 Ultra Low NOx Burner Replacment Probable Cost

WE Energies requested that Power Engineers Collaborative (PEC) prepare an engineer’s estimate of the total installed cost of an Ultra Low NOx Burner (ULNB) and accessories for Boiler 4 at the MCPP. PEC summarized the results of an inquiry to ULNB suppliers, requesting quotes for ULNB and accessories.  PEC issued inquiries dated September 30, 2011 for the burner and October 5, 2011 for the stack. The scope included a replacement burner meeting emissions standards of 9 ppm NOx and 50 ppm CO when burning natural gas, combustion control system, BMS, demolition, installation, startup, training, acceptance witnessing. The objective of the inquiries was to arrive at a reasonable range of total installed cost for replacement burner and the associated accessories.


Heating Plant Study & Alternatives

This study provided updated capital construction costs in 2014 dollars for eight alternatives requested by We Energies. Power Engineers Collaborative LLC (PEC) used the above two previously prepared engineering studies for the We Energies’ Milwaukee County Power Plant (MCPP) in preparing the updated probable costs.  PEC developed new technical and cost information for those not previously addressed.  PEC reviewed the technical and cost information within each study prior to updating the capital construction costs for each alternative in this study.   The probable costs for each alternative in the study were initiated using the scope changes provided by We Energies.

Thermal Chicago - Various Projects

Client: Thermal Chicago

Chicago, Illinois


PEC conceptualized the overall design of what is now Thermal Chicago, the largest commercial chilled water system with the three largest ice storage systems in the world.  Thermal Chicago now has a 110,000 ton connected load in 120 buildings of downtown Chicago.  This system has never failed to deliver cooling on demand to their customers from its initiation in 1993 as Northwind. It has operated at a profit since 2003 and has withstood rigorous economic valuation reviews.


Thermal Chicago P2 Plant

PEC completed the original design for the P2 chilled water plant at Franklin and Van Buren.  P2 plant is the foundation for the largest ice storage chilled water plant in the world at 120,000 ton-hours.  Originally laid out for the use of ammonia, it was finally designed as a liquid overfeed R22 system with a peaking capacity of 30,000 ton.


Study Thermo Syphon Free Cooling at P2 Plant

PEC is currently performing an engineering study to evaluate the energy cost reduction potential of operating in thermosyphon mode.  An analytical model of the plant was developed and results have been used in bin data set to complete savings model.  The initial investigation revealed unsatisfactory performance of evaporative condensers, leading to PEC’s recommendation to remove non-condensable from the system.  The investigation also led to PEC’s recommended system piping modifications to enable full bypass around compressors to facilitate thermosyphon operation.  The payback period of these modifications is less than 2 years.


Study of Refrigerant Change out Options at P2 Plant

PEC has been commissioned to perform an engineering evaluation of the feasibility of converting the plant from R22 to Ammonia.  The evaluation quantified the energy performance benefits, examined material compatibility concerns, and outlined regulatory approvals.


Thermal Chicago P5 Plant

In 2001, Thermal Chicago leased the paper storage area under the IBM Plaza to install a new chiller only plant to be completed as a design-build project.  PEC did the conceptual development for the initial plant.  In 2006, the plant was expanded by 8,000 tons and PEC did the engineering which required the complete re-engineering of the river water condenser water system and the electrical equipment room configuration.


Thermal Chicago P3 Plant

PEC designed a 14,000 ton expansion of this ammonia and ice storage chilled water plant.  In 2008, Blue Cross Blue Shield started construction of a 20 story addition to their building.  P3 is located in the lowest level of the building.  This required a complete modification of the condenser water system to accommodate the increased piping and static head.  The plant expansion included the addition of two 2,200 ton chillers with separate piping connection to the street distribution system and a reconfiguration of the electrical equipment room and line-up.

McCormick Place Exposition Center

Client: Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA)

Chicago, Illinois


Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA) issued a design build RFP for their new West Building addition to the existing McCormick Place Exposition Center (Chicago, IL) campus. The new addition is approximately 3,000,000 sq. ft. ($1,000,000,000 in value). It required a new separate heating plant as it is located 4000 feet from the existing McCormick Place central plant (which could not provide the necessary heat and chilled water for the new addition). MPEA requested the successful Design-Build team, Mc4West, (led by Clark Construction) to utilize PEC on its team to ensure the new addition’s heating and cooling systems were of the required quality, functionality and state of the art engineered systems. PEC review of the initial design-build Mc4West proposal for the new heating and cooling plant identified it did not include adequate space for expansion. PEC redesigned the new heating plant layout to incorporate expansion space for a future fourth boiler.


PEC scope included design of a new 120, 000 pph, 150 psig, natural gas fired steam plant consisting of three 40,000 #/hr firetube package boilers with low NOX burners. The new steam plant addition was integrated with the existing campus heating plant through a 4000 ft 12” dia. Steam and condensate system and a 24” dia. chilled glycol supply and return system (for the 8440 tons of chillers also located in the new heating plant). The operating design of the new plant is to either deliver steam to the entire campus or receive and operate in parallel with the existing central plant. The design included interconnected condensate management with the existing central plant consisting of a stainless steel surge tank and stainless steel de-aerator capable of supporting 40 minutes of plant operation with complete loss of makeup and condensate return.


In addition, PEC provided level one (design of the commissioning plan) and level two construction phase commissioning and estimating of the new West building heating plant. The level 2 construction phase commissioning consisted of both equipment system acceptance testing and integrated equipment system testing. The testing included full emission testing to demonstrate compliance with State of Illinois air permit requirements. The design build team for the West Building Central received a Gold LEED project award.

IBM Chiller Plant Study

Client: IBM Business Continuity & Resiliency Services

Boulder, Colorado


PEC performed a hydraulic study to examine the feasibility of interconnecting two adjacent chiller plants.  The effort involved extensive field survey, drawing verification, and data collection to document existing equipment and piping both within the plants and at the buildings served.  In addition, operator logs and automation system trend data was reviewed and operating staff interviewed.


Using the information collected in the study, a detailed flow model was developed using Pipe-Flo Professional Version 12.  The model was benchmarked against historic data and used to examine feasibility of interconnecting the two plants.  Once validated, a series of scenarios were run to simulate the revised operation under a variety of scenarios.  The model confirmed the feasibility of the proposed interconnection and was further used to refine equipment selections for new chillers and pumps.  The model also identified piping segments which may receive elevated fluid velocity under certain operating scenarios.

UMass Medical Campus Chilled Water Distribution Study

Client: University of Massachusetts Medical Campus & Optimum Energy, LLC

Worcester, Massachusetts


PEC conducted a hydraulic study of the UMass Medical Campus’ 12,000 ton chilled water plant and distribution system.  The plant piping and distribution lines were surveyed and the interconnection pumps and piping at each building were confirmed.  An analytical pressure loss model of distribution system was developed to assess pumping system control upgrade alternatives.


Prior to the study it had been proposed to slow the large main distribution pumps in the plants and allow each building to rely on boosters to generate flow through each building.  The model proved this strategy to be infeasible due to the pressure requirements of a large building adjacent to the plant which had no booster pumps.

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