Two organizations shared the Project of the Year Award given at Generac Industrial Power’s 10th annual Engineering Power Symposium, which was held in Milwaukee in early May. Washington-based Museum of the Bible and Kelly Generators & Equipment Inc. were recognized for the unique Generac 3.2 MW Modular Power System (MPS) that backs up the museum.
Working with Clark Construction, Ennis Electrical Company, Southland Industries, and SmithGroupJJR, Kelly Generators began designing an MPS solution consisting of eight 400 kW Generac generators connected in parallel to back up the 430,000-sq-ft facility. Installation of the natural gas units called for accommodating some specific on-site conditions, specifically a small footprint.
The Generac Industrial Power MG400 generators were able to meet a smaller footprint in an enclosed space on the museum’s roof by taking advantage of the room height, with four units mounted on a steel structure above the other four units. Four of the gen-sets provide life safety application requirements and the remaining generators backup climate control systems to preserve the museum’s biblical relics.
“It was a very unique project with the stacking of the generators in such a small space,” said Gary Fink, technical salesman at Kelly Generator. “The reward came when everything came together and worked when we started the generators up.”
Fink said Generac generators were selected because no paralleling gear was required and the shorter gen-set height helped to meet site constraints.
“We made it work with the limited space,” said Fink. “It was very tight, and that’s why we went away from three 1 MW diesels to eight smaller-framed 400 kW units.”
Generac was able to guarantee at least one of the eight generators would be serving life safety loads within 10 seconds, for up to 400 kW. In a power outage, any of the system’s automatic transfer switches (ATS) will signal the Generac control panel to start all eight generators. The first generator to reach frequency and voltage thresholds will energize the switchboard, and life-safety loads will be the first to be backed up. The remaining seven generators will then synchronize with the first generator to energize legally required loads and optional standby loads.
Due to cost and space considerations, a nonparalleled switchboard was specified. Other considerations included combustion exhaust pipe temperature as well as a grated structure to allow airflow to gen-sets at lower levels. The museum also wanted to economize on the number of transfer switches. The design went from eight switches to five.
The Engineering Power Symposium has been held annually since 2009 as an accredited continuing education opportunity for the many consulting and specifying engineers that do or wish to start doing business with Generac Industrial Power. This year’s symposium was attended by nearly 200 power engineering professionals from across North America.