UI Steam Power

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As an interdisciplinary engineering capstone senior design team our objective was to perform a feasibility analysis for implementing such a cogeneration system at the Steam Plant. We brought together the combined engineering knowledge from the fields of Bio-Agricultural, Mechanical, and Electrical Engineering.

UI Steam Plant
Sponsors :
  • UI Facilities
  • Industrial Assessment Center
  • Team Name : UI Steam Power
    Academic Year : Fall 2013 - Spring 2014
    Faculty Advisors :
    Consultants :


    The University of Idaho Steam Plant first started operating in 1940 with 1 original boiler. The steam plants main purpose is to provide steam for heating and cooling inside the buildings on campus. As the load got higher, 3 more boilers were installed on site to help maintain the constant pressure and flow needed for the campus. The primary boiler used today is the wood boiler. It was installed in 1985 and can run a flow rate of up to 60,000 lb/hr. The highest school load recorded was ~70,000 lb/hr, therefore the other 3 boilers are natural gas fueled and are used at load amounts that exceed the capacity of the wood boiler.

    Feasibility Analysis Specifications[edit]

    • Electrical load profiling
    • Thermal load profiling
    • New utility rate structure analysis
    • Unit sizing
    • Thermal use determination/distribution system analysis
    • Installation cost estimates
    • Permitting impacts
    • Utility interconnection requirements
    • Financial calculations(simple payback, IRR, Cash Flow Diagrams)
    • Presentation of six design/construction models to client
    • Fully develop client design preference

    Current System Model[edit]

    UI Steam Plant Current System

    The Current System Model is broken up into 7 stages.

    • Boilers
    • Pressure Reducing Valves
    • Condenser(Campus)
    • Condensate Tank
    • Condensate Pumps
    • Dearator Tank
    • Feedwater Pumps

    Model Options[edit]

    Turbine Model Description
    Simple Turbine Model This Turbine option will consist of 1 turbine that runs alongside the current PRV's. It can operate at current system pressures and will generate from 1/2 - 1 MW
    Two Turbine Model The first turbine will use steam directly out of the wood boiler with the second turbine down stream of the main header using steam from all boilers.
    Plummer Model Non-Superheated This Turbine will condense the steam after it flows through the turbine. It will require a condensing tank and cooling tower.
    Plummer Model Superheated The same set up as the Plummer Model, but it includes super-heated steam.
    Reheat Two Turbine This generation setup works by recirculating the super-heated steam after it goes through the first turbine back into the boiler and then into the second turbine.
    Max Generation Model Includes two turbines, max pressure, super-heated, and reheat turbine system.

    EES Verification[edit]

    EES T-s Diagram
    Table of Properties for T-s Diagram

    The program Engineering Equation Solver (EES) is used to model the current steam system, and estimate boiler efficiency using inputs of steam generated and fuel usage. EES is further utilized in estimating the isentropic efficiency of several existing turbines at other universities. Finally, it will be used to predict predict power generation of both turbine system models.

    Selected Models[edit]

    Below are the 2 models our client has chosen for us to model and continue looking into for the spring semester of 2014.

    Model Diagram Specifications Methodolgy
    2014 Cogeneration Simple Turbine Model.jpg
    Simple Turbine Model

    The simple turbine model is bypassing the existing PRV's with a turbine. Inlet pressures would remain around 130 psi with a campus distribution pressure at 60 psi. For the spring semester, we will be conducting an economic analysis as well as implementation costs for this basic turbine package.

    2014 Cogeneration Methodology2.png
    2014 Cogeneration Plummer Model (Superheat).jpg
    Plummer Superheated Model

    The Plummer Superheated model will be analyzed to see if it is a viable option for the University of Idaho. The Plummer Model is a condensing turbine that will require a condenser and cooling tower. It's pros are that it can generate a large amount of power but this comes at a higher need for fuel. Also, the steam in this system will require superheating to get max efficiency from our turbine. Superheating steam will require much more safety and preventative maintenance for the plant as well.

    2014 Cogeneration Methodology1.png

    Team Members[edit]

    Picture Bio Discipline
    2014 cogeneration Chris.jpg
    Chris Anderson
    My name is Chris Anderson and I am interested in the power side of electrical engineering. I grew up in the town of Athol. One morning I woke up and decided I could be an engineer, so I applied at the University of Idaho, got accepted, conquered three years, and now I'm almost there. A year ago I started working with the Industrial Assessment Center. It was this job that sparked my interest in energy engineering. Currently my goal is to become some form of energy efficiency evaluator, so this design project is a helpful step in that direction. That's everything there is to know about me.

    Expected Graduation: May 2014

    2014 Cogeneration IMG 0598.JPG
    Ryan Oliver
    Personal interests include: home brewing, hunting, and snowboarding.

    I came to the University of Idaho, with my wife Kali, as a nontraditional transfer student in 2010. As well as electrical engineering, I am also finishing a degree in philosophy. The decision to pursue an engineering degree developed out of a dissatisfaction with my then career prospects as a telecommunication contractor and a desire to obtain a theoretical background for electrical engineering. For the last two years I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to work with the University of Idaho Industrial Assessment Center. Working with the UIIAC on energy efficiency audits as well as taking the Lean Manufacturing Course through the Mechanical Engineering Department has provided me with the opportunity to see concepts learned in the class room actually being applied in industry. Upon graduation, I hope to apply my previous experiences as a residential framing business owner and telecommunications contractor with my newly found skills in electrical engineering and energy efficiency towards a career within both the power engineering /construction fields.

    Expected Graduation: August 2015

    2014 Cogeneration Photo Oct 03, 6 18 59 PM.jpg
    Chad Dunkel
    My name is Chad Dunkel and I am interested in energy engineering, industrial processes, and industrial waste streams. I am currently finishing up my undergraduate degree in Biological and Agricultural Engineering with an emphasis on Environmental Engineering. I was born and raised in Sandpoint, Idaho and it has always been my goal to pursue a career in engineering. I have also been involved in the University of Idaho Industrial Assessment Center for over two years now. Through the IAC program, I have developed an interest in energy engineering for manufacturing, food processing, municipal, and agricultural facilities. It is because of my engineering and IAC background that this project is especially interesting to me. Performing a feasibility study for a co-generation steam turbine combines engineering, economic, and environmental elements.

    Expected Graduation: May 2014

    2014 Cogeneration Link pic.png
    Donald Haines
    My name is Donald Haines and I am interested in the power side of electrical engineering. I have interned at Panoche Energy Center in Fresno,CA focusing on learning the full operations at a natural gas plant. My future plans are to continue working in the power industry and become a plant controls operator. Working with the UI Cogeneration group will help me in getting a job on a power plant once I graduate and will also teach me everything I want to know about cogeneration.

    Expected Graduation: May 2014

    2014 Cogeneration Group.jpg

    Group photo of us inside the University of Idaho's Wood Boiler (Somewhat blurry but a great photo)

    Document Archive[edit]

    Design Review Presentation[edit]

  • File:Design Review.pdf
  • Team Minutes[edit]

  • File:2014 Cogeneration Senior Design 9-24 Minutes.pdf
  • File:2014 Cogeneration Senior Design 10-8 Minutes.pdf
  • File:2014 Cogeneration Senior Design 10-22 Minutes.pdf
  • File:2014 Cogeneration Senior Design 10-29 Minutes.pdf
  • File:2014 Cogeneration Senior Design 11-5 Minutes.pdf
  • File:2014 Cogeneration Senior Design 12-3 Minutes.pdf
  • File:2014 Cogeneration Senior Design 12-10 Minutes.pdf