Old energy integrates with new
David J. Toombs, General Manager, Citizens Thermal
Editor’s Note: Citizens Thermal is serving as host for IDEA’s 101st Annual Conference & Trade Show to be held in
Indianapolis, Ind., June 13-16, 2010. The conference will include a tour of Citizens Thermal facilities.
Iconsidering where we hope to be in the future, we should
reflect on the past – or as some might say, go “back
n reviewing the current state of district energy, and
to basics.” To me, the basics are the energy efficiency and
operational specifications that were originally designed into our
existing systems. Those systems may not have been installed
with the automation and/or controls to fine-tune equipment
as we do today, but the basic district energy technology and
applications are the same ones we work with now.
So why has district energy been around for more than 100
years? Because it supplies an efficient, necessary energy source
and delivers quality customer service at a competitive price.
Looking back to basics on a regular basis can help us continue
to operate efficiently, provide good service and be more cost-effective for our customers.
At Citizens Thermal in Indianapolis, Ind., we have been
reviewing the basics of our district energy system and have
found a few opportunities for improvement. Taking a look at
our past operations, we recently reinstituted a couple of former
system features – condensate return and back-pressure
turbines – as improvements that will help us ensure a
Condensate Return Again Feasible
Citizens’ original condensate system, which dated to
the 1920s, was shut down and abandoned in the 1980s due
to its poor condition. For the next couple of decades, we no
longer received condensate return from any of our customers.
But when the Lucas Oil Stadium was being built and the
Indiana Convention Center was being expanded – both close
to our Perry K Steam Plant – we investigated installing a new
condensate return system for these steam and chilled-water
customers. We had to determine if it was feasible from an
economic as well as a construction standpoint.
As most of us know, the lack of tunnels in all kinds of
existing thermal systems means it is not always economically
viable to reinstate old condensate return systems. The chemical
composition of pipe and the low pH of the condensate combine
4/7/10 2:03 PM