Drexel University purchases high pressure steam from the Trigen Energy Corporation to feed the majority of the space and water heating needs on the University City Main Campus. Trigen does not have the means to return condensate to their system. At present, 5% to 10% of the heating value of the University’s purchased steam is lost in the condensate which is discharged to the sewer system. The University incurs City of Philadelphia water and sewer charges for condensate and dilution water that is discharged.
The construction of two plants, one serving the campus north of Market Street and one serving the campus south of Market Street, would eliminate all purchases from Trigen. The use of steam turbines in lieu of pressure reducing stations would produce 5% of the electricity that is currently used by Drexel. Without incurring any debt, the plants have a simple payback of just over 10 years.
In anticipation of the proposed North Campus Heating Plant, condensate return piping was included in the 2008, 33rd Street Main Steam Line Relocation Project. Returning steam condensate to the North Campus Heating Plant will reduce the costs associated with fuel, water make-up, chemical treatment, and electric utilities.
In late 2008, Drexel completed a feasibility study for revitalizing the abandoned Boiler Plant located behind the Academic Building. The building would be renovated to provide an architecturally-sensitive structure preserving the mass of the existing structure while providing the appropriate infrastructure to accommodate a state-of-the-art heating plant.
The plant would include three boilers nominally sized at 300 HP, producing 10,350 pph of steam (50% redundancy) and would include a 120 kW steam turbine. Additional upgrades to the North Campus distribution system include condensate receivers and pumps at each building served by steam.
The design of the South Campus heating plant has not been developed past the conceptual stage, but the intent is to locate the plant between Alumni Engineering Laboratories and the CSX railroad line. The plant would consist of three boilers nominally sized at 450 HP, producing 15,525 pph of steam (50% redundancy) and would include 180 kW steam turbine. Additional upgrades to the South Campus distribution system include adding steam and condensate mains along the Ludlow Street corridor and a Market Street crossing to interconnect the system to the North Campus System for added redundancy.
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