Baylor > Facility Services > Energy Complex > Plant History

Plant History


The History of the Heating and Cooling Plant

Up until the early 1960's, the heating plant was located on the corner of South 7th Street and Connor Street (now M.P. Daniel). The original Physical Plant contained a boiler with a large smokestack used to make steam in order to provide building heat through steam converters. The building was later named Neill Morris Hall after one of Baylor's first Physical Plant Directors. The steam was and still is carried by underground piping systems to the buildings that are connected to the campus steam and condensate loop systems. It should also be noted that up until this time each building had separate water chiller units for providing building cooling water, or no indoor cooling at all.

In September 1962, Baylor committed to the construction of a central campus generation plant for all of the existing and future building needs would be generated and distributed in regards to heating and cooling. The plant contained two new natural gas fired boilers for heating and three new water chillers for cooling. The steam and chilled water would be distributed across campus in underground direct buried or utility tunnel piping. In the later months of 1962, the Temperature Control Center entered into a utility tunnel project that would connect the plant with the newest girls residence hall, Russell Hall.

As the campus grew in the early 1970's with new buildings and students, the steam and chilled water demands increased, thus resulting in a plant expansion project. The project included the increased capacity of the plant boilers and the cooling towers to meets these demands.

In 1987, Baylor committed to a co-generation project that meant that the campus' central plant would be able to generate 4 megawatts of electricity with a natural gas fired turbine/generator. The co-generation unit would allow the plant to use the by-product heat for additional steam needs as well as the operation of absorption chillers for cooling. During this project, the plant's natural gas turbine and back-up boiler was equipped to operate on #2 diesel oil as a secondary fuel source.

In 1989, the plant constructed a new water chemical treatment addition to the building allowing the plant to properly treat the chilled water and steam looped systems across campus as well as within the plant. The new chemical building and program provides the plant with an isolated facility to store, test and administrate the proper amount of chemicals in a safe manner.

During 1998, Baylor committed to a campus wide Energy Conservation Performance project, which included the central plant being retrofitted with newer energy efficient electrical chillers, automated valve controls, a newly constructed variable speed drive controllers (VFD) to be used on pumps and cooling tower fans. The project also included the latest high tech computerized Siemens Energy Management System to control the plant's equipment, as well as the campus facilities' equipment as one system. The project included the renovation of the two large separate cooling tower cells.

In 1999, the plant's Heat Recovery Steam Generator (HRSG) had to have the steam pressure per hour increased from 50,000 pph to a 70,000 pph in order to handle the increased steam loads for the campus' new construction projects.

Late in 2000, the Temperature Control Center was re-named as the Baylor Energy Complex, and became a major part of Baylor University's Vision 2012 Master Plan. It was in this campus Master Plan that the University became committed to a total campus utility infrastructure plan pertaining to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing needs of the present and future.

In 2003, as part of the Vision 2012 that includes the Utility Infrastructure Plan, the Energy Complex installed a new 2700 ton York chiller.

In 2005, the second 2700 ton York chiller was installed to meet the demands of a growing campus. A new boiler feed-water system with de-aerator tank and control system were installed.

In 2007, steam absorber chiller #3 was removed and replaced with a high-efficiency, variable speed R134A York centrifugal chiller. Chemical treatment systems were upgraded for high capacity and reliability.

In July 2008, the installation of two new 800 hp Clever-Brooks fire tube dual fuel boilers was completed. These replaced the existing 1970 Bigelow water tube inefficient boiler. The two new boilers are rated 85% efficient and computer controlled (PLC) and networked into the building automation system for monitoring and alarms. Future plans include adding a third boiler for redundancy in summer-fall 2011.

In August 2008, the co-generation plant was turned off, as a result of electrical de-regulation and the purchase of a 10-year electrical rate. The cost of operating and maintaining the turbine power plant no longer made economic sense. The turbine and generator were sold to make room for plant expansion.

Also in August 2008, the replacement of the inefficient CFC chiller #4 was completed. Chiller #4 was replaced with a new high-efficiency R134A York soft start 4160 volt chiller. This machine can produce 2100 tons of chilled water that is supplied to campus through the utility tunnels to the campus buildings. Chiller #4 was built in San Antonio in the York production plant as a prototype and transported to Wisconsin to be performance tested at the York headquarters.

In summer 2012, a building expansion project provided additional space for 6000 tons of chiller capacity for the future growth of campus. A third 800 hp Clever-Brooks fire tube boiler was installed for the increased load of East Village.