To meet precise performance and functional requirements, the design team contracted local MTU Onsite Energy distributor Emergency Systems Service Company (ESSCO) for specification of the three units. Rated at 1,600 kWe prime/1,750 kWe (standby), the MTU Onsite Energy generator sets are approved for an 85 percent 24-hour average load factor (15 percent above industry standard) and renowned for best-in-class reliability and availability. The EPA Tier 2-certified units also offer versatility and flexibility in design, a key requirement for the project. A sophisticated and complex project, ESSCO provided design assistance and project management for a full suite of emergency power system equipment, including new paralleling gear, redundant programmable logic controller (PLC), 1,600 kW resistive load bank, 2,000 amp portable generator quick connects, fuel polishing system, and a 15,000 gallon main fuel tank.
“The success of our decade long relationship of upkeep and reliability, assured me that ESSCO would bring the correct mix of talent and technologies to the project,” Keyser shared.
With a goal of adding capacity while eliminating single points of failure, the team took a unique approach. Partnering with Enercon Engineering of Peoria, Illinois, ESSCO renovated the existing lineup of paralleling gear and Detroit Diesel generator sets using industry standard digital controls. Enercon implemented the system on the specified Siemens PLC devices, which were used to coordinate the operation of the four Detroit Diesels and three new MTU Onsite Energy generators.
With seven generator sets, four switchboards and two utility sources, the numerous PLCs are an essential element as they make decisions based on available sources, when, where, how and if they should to respond to changing power conditions. The sophisticated control system of Siemens PLCs, which oversees the entire infrastructure, was architected by Jeff Jerome of Siemens Industries. “The self-healing dual architecture runs the show, selecting between any of the numerous conditions the electrical ‘ring’ buss can encounter,” noted Keyser.
“It was important that all the equipment run in synchronization,” said Joseph Stillman PE, chief electrical engineer at Sharpe Engineering, a full-service mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection engineering firm that supported the project. “The PLC system really made the entire paralleling process seamless and effortless.”
Carrying the load
Being a mission-critical operation required that installation and commissioning take place with no disruption to the critical load or any of its support systems. To that end, Keyser and his team journeyed to Mankato, Minnesota for factory witness testing of its new generator equipment.
“We needed to install the new generation equipment and be able to rely on it right out of the box,” said Keyser. “This would ensure our electrical contractor, Union Electric, could safely migrate the entire building full of critical equipment. Seeing it put through its paces instilled confidence that the units would perform when needed.”
Managing all of the players skillfully through countless issues, Jim Marks with ESSCO executed the project flawlessly, according to Keyser. “We had no alternative but to trust the talents of so many people doing their job right the first time,” he said.
Once all of the facility loads were safely migrated, the existing generator complex was upgraded, tested and commissioned in a live setting. Union Electric completed all of the wiring for all power and communication. The state-of-the-art installation of the MTU Onsite Energy generators makes reliable power available any time.
In June 2015, a mandatory multi-hour DR test was conducted at the CTC in order to fulfill contractual terms. “We use this time to train our critical facilities engineers on the gear operation. It’s not every day we just pull the plug, but I’m confident we can day or night,” said Keyser.
“It’s particularly cool with the closed transition transfers we can initiate. Not even our most sensitive downstream equipment sees the change to generator and back.”
Cerner’s critical facilities team and ESSCO have a long-standing partnership dating back many years. ESSCO supports a comprehensive maintenance schedule that includes planned service on all of the generator sets and associated equipment, as well as 24-hour on-call support.
“After many years of project development, this critical data facility now has a state-of-the-art power infrastructure that blends new with well-maintained legacy equipment to provide multiple levels of redundancy,” said Jim Marks, sales and project manager at ESSCO for this project.
“We at Emergency Systems Service Company are proud and honored to have been the chosen provider and to have earned the trust and relationship with the critical Malvern CTC team, Lane Keyser, George Hockman, Steve Grzywacz and Mark Rehrer,” said Bob Hafich, president of sales and administration at ESSCO. “They are an extremely professional group to work with and we were also fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Craig Tupper from Union Electric and the Electrical Engineer Joe Stillman with Sharpe Engineering, who were first class as well. Working with people of this caliber is what made the project so successful.”