A new on-site cogeneration plant will allow RUMC to create its own electricity

STATEN ISLAND, NY – As Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) prepares to open its new, state-of-the-art Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) this summer, followed by the unveiling of a new ward 35,000-square-foot Emergency Department in the fall, the hospital administration painstakingly detailed all patient-centric amenities, showing off private rooms, oversized surgical suites and plenty of modern technology during a recent preview tour. But one of the most innovative upgrades to the RUMC campus is a feature patients will never physically see: a new, self-sufficient, on-site cogeneration plant that will provide a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and renewable way to power the property.

“Now more than ever, we are making critical investments and capital improvements so that the University of Richmond Medical Center can continue to meet the future health care needs of the community,” said Daniel J. Messina, President and CEO of RUMC. “From the outside in, from the clinical to the non-clinical, changes are happening at a rapid speed. Ongoing construction projects such as a new state-of-the-art emergency department, an upgraded maternity ward with completely private rooms, and new hurricane-proof windows for the entire hospital are just a few. many improvements that we can consider. looking forward to next year.

Engines at the Co-Gen plant, made by luxury automaker Rolls Royce, will produce enough power to meet the hospital’s daily energy needs. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

The Co-Gen plant, which is expected to run on natural gas and produce enough electricity to power the hospital daily – even if there is a power outage in the area – is expected to be operational this month, Messina said. The use of the power plant will allow the RUMC to produce electricity and useful heat at the same time, with the excess heat generated being used to improve the air conditioning capacity of the hospital.

“The system will convert natural gas into electricity, which will allow RUMC to disconnect from the grid and create its own electricity – particularly in an emergency – and ensure that the hospital is at full power and protected against blackouts. “, explained Messina.

RUMC's new Co-Gen plant will allow the hospital to create its own electricity

The system will convert natural gas into electricity. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

According to the US Department of Energy’s website, cogeneration applications, also known as combined heat and power (CHP) technology, typically operate at around 75% efficiency – a significant improvement over to the national average of around 50% for these services when provided separately.

“Cogeneration may not be widely recognized outside of industrial, commercial, institutional and utility circles, but it quietly provides highly efficient electricity and process heat to some of the most vital industries, to the largest employers, urban centers and campuses in the United States,” the site notes. “As energy systems evolve and decarbonization becomes a global priority, there is a need to develop new cogeneration technologies to provide solutions to emerging challenges.”

And that’s exactly why RUMC has made this system a priority, Messina said.

“The system is dual motor and can provide enough power for high peak cases,” the CEO said. “It will also allow us to operate seamlessly in the event of a power outage or other natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy.”

Constructed in an existing building at the back of campus, the system took over a year to construct and required the installation of underground conduit, conduit and piping. A new roof, cooling towers and concrete base were also added before the existing piping was moved and new sprinkler systems installed.

The cost of the project was more than $28 million, funded by a combination of grants from the city and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Messina said the system will be fully tested before its official launch this month.

RUMC's new Co-Gen plant will allow the hospital to create its own electricity

An exterior view of the plant’s cooling towers. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

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