Cogeneration in Fifth Avenue Style Quiet and Discreet

  • Saturday, September 3, 2011

    SEMCO Panelized Structure
    Meets Demands of New York Property Owner

    Manhattan property owners appreciate off-peak energy charges – just don’t mess with their view.

    That, in addition to noise, was a major concern when the Class-A office building at 717 5th Avenue was about to be the recipient of a 1.6 MW cogeneration  plant to be installed atop a 13-story section of the
    26-story office building. Several New York architectural icons, including Trump Tower, the St. Regis Hotel, and the Sony Building, surround the property.  The cogeneration  plant would allow the owner to take advantage of off peak rates by powering the building during the day – and even feeding the surplus back into the grid.  There were enormous financial and environmental benefits, but there would be no compromises when it came to aesthetics or tenant satisfaction. The plant had to meld seamlessly into its high-end surroundings.

    It was a logistical challenge on many fronts for Enercon Engineering, a leading manufacturer of packaged power modules and cogeneration units. To help them manage the demands of this high profile project, the company turned to SEMCO.

    “We worked with SEMCO on structure engineering, design and finally delivery. They have good experience with structural enclosures and acoustics, enabling us to achieve the decibel reduction required,” said Tony Hagen, Manufacturing  Manager for Enercon.

    The completed cogeneration plant consisted of two 820 kW lean burn natural gas engine generator sets, heat exchangers, a 289-ton hot water absorption chiller, controls, electrical switchgear and energy distribution all housed in a modular sound-attenuated enclosure that was provided by SEMCO.  It was important that the packaged unit blend into its surrounding as well as contain the noise produced by the large generator and mechanical equipment.

    SEMCO designed both the structural and acoustic components for the modular plant. Working within the maximum allowable decibels, 85 dBA at 3 meters, SEMCO provided air inlet & discharge silencers and fabricated 4” thick modular tongue & groove panels that comprised each of the 7 components. The knocked-down components were shipped to Enercon’s facility in Barnesville, Georgia where workers assembled and tested the unit. Enercon then dissembled the structure for shipment to the 5th Avenue location where a crane was used to lift it in seven sections, one at a time.  The process entailed blocking off a busy Manhattan  street for an entire day and extra police for traffic control, but the unit was delivered and assembled 13 stories up, exactly as planned.

    Powder coated in a flat black, the unit blends seamlessly into this high-end business district. Visually and acoustically the structure met each and every one of the client’s demanding needs, proving that cogeneration plants are a viable solution in even the most discriminating urban areas.