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Innovative technology wins SDSU an award

North Chiller Plant

Completed in fall 2016, South Dakota State University’s North Chiller plant received an honorable mention award at the International District Energy Association’s annual conference and trade show. The plant was entered in the IDEA Innovation Award category, which values the open exchange of best practices, sharing of new technologies and lessons learned from industry peers that drive progress and advancement in district energy.

The plant, an unstaffed, highly efficient and low-operating-cost facility, was designed by Farris Engineering, whose headquarters are in Omaha, Nebraska.

The North Chiller Plant replaced air-cooled chillers on the Animal Science Complex, the Animal Disease Research and Diagnostic Laboratory, the Animal Resource Wing and the Edgar S. McFadden Northern Plains Biostress Laboratory. The plant’s increased capacity allows it to also cool the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium.

The plant pioneered the use of an entirely fusion-welded polypropylene pipe systems for chiller and condenser lines in lieu of traditional grooved or welded carbon steel pipe and fittings and high-density polyethylene pipe materials, which also afforded an environmentally sustainable, nontoxic, corrosion- and chemical-resistant system with a life span in excess of 50 years.

The facility’s use of chemicals is lower than a sister plant built in similar manner using carbon steel materials. While piping materials costs were minimally higher for the nonferrous pipe materials—less than 10 percent—installation costs were reduced by approximately 30 percent for labor due to the light weight of the pipe materials.