University of Oregon Central Power Station Upgrade, Eugene, OR


Portland Engineering provided Process, DDC, and Controls Integration for the University of Oregon Central Power Station Upgrade Project over the course of two years. Portland Engineering was selected by the University to complete an approximately two million dollar contract for a comprehensive control system upgrade of the existing central power station that provides steam, chilled water, and electricity to the campus. PEI combined information and control features from six different vendor supplied control systems using various communication protocols into one integrated package for the operators’\ use. For this comprehensive project, PEI provided full installation and integration of new programmable logic controllers for balance of plant controls, operator interfaces and instruments, development of the control strategies, and start-up services.

The University of Oregon identified several objectives for this project that included expanding the chilled water and steam plant to meet the needs of the campus, provide a backup electrical supply for the campus, and develop the ability to generate income through furnishing excess power to the utility. Several systems were in need of improvement and the existing control system was out of date.

We designed the control architecture and provided all components, including complete control panel designs. Our engineers devised a framework that provided a redundant control system in the event of a primary controller failure. The system architecture provides full redundancy, from the process I/O up to the PLC, significantly minimizing the possibility of a plant outage. We developed a completely new operator interface system employing Wonderware ArchestrA as the system platform. We created all new control strategies and functionality for the power plant and our design incorporated specific control enhancements requested by plant operators and technical staff, significantly improving efficiency. To facilitate smooth system integration, we worked with operations to define and improve the design of the HMI system including standards development, graphical layout, and navigation.

In addition to the Wonderware HMI, included in the project was the installation of a new historian data acquisition and reporting system using Wonderware. Redundant Allen-Bradley ControlLogix controllers provided the balance of plant controls designed by PEI.

The HMI system included two operator work stations, one remote work station, and three read only work stations for supervision. Each of the primary operator work stations used one bank of eight 19” monitors and a second bank of three 42” wall-mounted monitors.

PEI performed extensive operational readiness testing (ORT) on each plant subsystem using the installed equipment and a simulator program we developed specifically for the project. This procedure ensured that the various system controls were fully functional prior to start-up and commissioning. The sequencing of this project required flexibility of our integration schedule in order to complete the upgrade efficiently. We established a plan of implementation for all integration, start-up and installation services that would accommodate changes to the schedule as necessary. All process controls were verified, witnessed, and documented; residency was established in Eugene, Oregon to ensure availability of continuous support; and extensive time on-site was invested to ensure that the needs of the University were met.

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