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University of Illinois Abbott Power Plant Expansion and Rehabilitation

Stanley Consultants provided complete design services for all systems and also full-time site construction administration for the expansion of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Abbott Power Plant.  The plant was part of the University's long-term utility planning to support campus growth.  The expansion included two 14 MW gas- or oil-fired combustion turbines, each with a supplementary natural gas-fired heat recovery steam generator; two 12 MW extraction condensing steam turbines; one 7 MW extraction back-pressure steam turbine; associated switchgear; new deaerating heater; and equipment auxiliaries.
The rehabilitation work included two new field-erected, counter-flow cooling towers; a two-stage reverse osmosis water treatment system for boiler makeup water; new makeup water storage tanks; new boiler feedwater pumps; remodeling of the existing restroom/locker room facilities; and modifications required to meet ADA handicapped accessibility requirements.  A comprehensive plant distributed control system was designed for control of all new equipment.  Low NOx burners and burner controls were designed for replacing the burners for two existing 175,000 lb/hr natural gas/No. 2 fuel oil-fired boilers.  The expansion produced reliable, cost-effective steam and electricity from natural gas and fuel oil, combined with the already low-cost steam produced from coal from the existing boilers.  The steam was distributed via steam tunnels and direct-buried steam pipes to serve 252 buildings on the 1,450-acre campus.
Though the driving force behind the decision to build the plant was economical, there were many social and environmental considerations.  The new plant meets loads more efficiently, thereby conserving energy by consuming fewer natural resources.  It allows older, less efficient boilers to be retired and replaced with individual turbines that utilize low nitrous oxide technology in an effort to minimize exhaust emissions.  Highly visible ugly and dilapidated cooling towers have been replaced with new units hidden from view on top of a building.