Combined Heat and Power Plant

Michael Debakey Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center

Shah Smith & Associates, Inc. provided mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) services for this $30,000,000 design-build project.  Services include: investigation, design, construction, and testing and commissioning of a natural gas/diesel fueled combined heat and power facility.

The Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Houston recognized the need to have sufficient onsite power to operate its 2,000,000 SF facility in the event of an extended power outage, including the central heating and cooling.  To that end, the VAMC engaged SSA to prepare a study to determine the required capacity and configuration of the onsite power system.  SSA’s recommendation was to install six-2000 kW engine generator sets.

To further capitalize on the installation of engine generator sets, VAMC saw the opportunity to save energy and promote sustainability by including combined heat and power capability on two of the engine generator sets.  SSA, as part of the SpawGlass design-build team, was selected to design the project.

The final arrangement of the six-engine generator sets has a combined capacity of 14,200 kW.  The two CHP units will operate alternately throughout the year and will use a urea system to control exhaust emissions, primarily NOx, within the TCEQ permit.  Heat recovered from the CHP is used to provide a portion of the heating water requirements of the hospital.

The equipment is housed in a standalone building that is net zero.  Features included were photovoltaic arrays and water reclaim.  The building also complies with VA security guidelines.