Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has opened its new 75,000 square foot, $438 million Central Utilities Plant (CUP).
The new facility will be 25 per cent more efficient than the previous 50 year old CUP and an 8.4 MW cogeneration plant consisting of gas-turbine-driven generators to provide electricity and the “waste” heat will be reused for heating and to power additional steam-driven chillers.
The plant will be vital for LA’s airport, which holds the claim for “the world’s busiest origin and destination (O & D) airport”, meaning it had the most non-connecting passengers, and the third busiest in the world by aircraft movements.
The CUP consists of three main architectural elements: a four-story building that contains the plant and staff offices, an above-ground cylindrical 1.5 million gallon thermal energy storage tank that rises nearly four stories, and a maintenance facility with workshops on the ground floor and cooling towers above.
The new facility will also comprise 20,000 tons of cooling capacity to supply all nine LAX terminals. The cooling capacity is delivered by a plant that includes electric-driven centrifugal chillers, heat recovery boilers, primary and secondary chilled water pumps, cooling towers and thermal energy storage. The CUP has been designed to support future phases of the LAX multi-billion dollar Capital Improvement Program.