District energy systems distribute heating and cooling through a network of piping. This is also known as district heating and cooling.

With district energy systems, steam, chilled water or hot water produced occurs at a central utility plant and is dispatched to commercial, institutional and industrial customers. This thermal energy is used in space heating and cooling, domestic water heating or process loads. Combining of loads on a common campus of buildings achieves increased reliability and improved thermal efficiency. It also can reduce costs when compared to the cumulative costs and performance of separate single-building systems. Thermal Engineering Group, Inc. has extensive experience in addressing all aspects of district energy systems having been actively involved in the design, development, construction, operation and maintenance of more than 44 district heating and cooling systems throughout the United States.

DHC systems enable their clients to concentrate their resources on their core business while outsourcing the tasks relating to the production of thermal energy. District heating and cooling makes it easier and more cost effective to take advantage of multiple fuel sources in a volatile fuel market where fuel flexibility means reduced energy costs. District heating and cooling is environmentally friendly since shifting from multiple points of smaller production facilities to a single central plant aids in the reduction of undesirable emissions resulting in less global and local pollution.

DHC systems consist of three primary components: 1) Central Plant, 2) Distribution System, and 3) the End user’s Interconnect. Each of these components is discussed below:

Central Plant

Boiler Systems:

Boiler systems for the production of steam, hot water and co-generation with a steam capacity of up to 1,000,000 pounds per hour. Designed to meet varying client pressures and operational requirements. District Central Plants take advantage of fuel diversity and often use a combination of the following::

  • Natural Gas
  • Fuel Oil
  • Coal
  • Municipal Solid Waste
  • Wood
  • Waste Materials
  • Low BTU Gas

Chilled Water Systems:

Chilled water systems with a capacity of up to 30,000 tons. Chiller equipment is selected to “best fit” the central plant’s heat cycle and can be integrated to provide the most cost effective hybrid system specific to the utility requirements for client applications. Typical chiller types include:

  • Electric Chillers
  • Single and Double Effect
  • Steam Absorption Chillers
  • Steam Turbine Driven Chillers
  • Engine Driven Chillers
  • Combustion Turbine Driven Chillers
  • Direct Natural Gas Fired Chillers
  • Ice Storage

Delivery of Thermal Energy

Efficient and cost effective means of transporting thermal energy from the central plant to the client’s end user’s energy transfer station requires a well designed distribution systems. Our designs assure adequate supplies of energy are delivered as needed and at the lowest possible cost.

Thermal Engineering Group has extensive experience with above ground, direct buried, and tunnel systems in urban environments. for the following: Preparation of accurate stress and hydraulic analysis are required to assure appropriate design for systems such as:

  • Steam Supply
  • Condensate Return
  • Chilled Water Supply and Return
  • Hot Water Supply and Return
  • Field Fabricated
  • Preinsulated

End User Interconnect System

In order for a district heating and cooling system to be truly beneficial, it must provide an effective means for connecting to the end user’s energy systems.

Thermal Engineering Group is experienced in matching piping distribution systems to the end user’s system. This may include direct connection of thermal services, or it may be necessary to utilize a heat exchanger as an indirect means for energy transfer.