Upgrade of the Chillers and South Cooling Tower (OHare)

Upgrade of the Chillers and South Cooling Tower (OHare)

Owner  - CDA
Client      -   RME (Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, Inc.)
Location   - Chicago, IL

O'Hare International Airport serves over 150,000 passengers on a daily basis. The Heating and Refrigeration (H&R) Building is responsible for heating and cooling all of the airport buildings. There were nine chillers in the H&R Building to supply the cooling to all terminals and buildings. This project was to increase the energy efficiency of the cooling system by installing energy efficient chillers with increased capacity, as well as installing new control panels and modulating valves to further improve chiller operation. The project also includes upgrading the pumps that circulate chilled water, the pumps that circulate condensed water, and the expansion of a cooling tower which operates in conjunction with the chillers with more efficient equipment. IDCS worked with Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, Inc. (RME) and Burns & McDonnell on the electrical design for this project. The electrical upgrades include replacement of five chillers, which have been in service since the 1960's, with four new chillers designed to be driven by four new medium voltage variable frequency drives (MV-VFDs) in order to efficiently operate the chilled water system. IDCS' design also included the low voltage power sources for the new chiller control panels and new control valves which are installed at the four new chillers and the four existing chillers. The design includes ten new MV-VFDs that will control ten new chilled water pumps. These are replacing existing constant speed starters on the existing chilled water pumps. There are four new condenser water pumps that will include MV-VFDs to control their pumping capacity. The project required the expansion of the South Cooling Tower to accommodate the new chiller capacity. The South Cooling Tower capacity was increased by activating two unused bays with new fans with two new low voltage variable frequency drives, new tower controls and well as increasing the size of the motors on four existing fans. Due to the critical nature of the cooling systems at O'Hare Airport, IDCS' design intentionally split the loads for similar systems onto different utility sources. Separating the electrical loads ensures that in the event of a failure of once source, there will still be operational chilling, condensing, pumping, and chilled water pumps as well as cooling towers. IDCS' design includes plans and specifications as well as field work to verify existing conditions.


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